You think we’re full of it when we warn you about the severity of the pension problem in Fullerton (and elsewhere). You think we’re joking about the pension crisis that threatens to eat our city budget whole.
You ignore when Fitzgerald laughs off structural deficits and joins our council in voting for every pay/benefits package our heroes demand.
Well it is a crisis. A crisis of math and a crisis of ethics.
How bad is it?
It’s so bad our City Manager is actively considering giving away property we can’t readily sell to pay what we owe on the pensions.
Here’s an except from an email forwarded by CM Ken Domer to now-former Administrative Services Director Michael B. O’Kelly, CPA asking for his feedback (emphasis added):
I wanted to share information about fairly new alternative funding concept in public pension – funding using “assets-in-kind”.
The concept of using assets-in-kind for pension and OPEB funding is currently being considered by the State of CT. Attached is one of the presentations made during the hearings of the CT Pension Sustainability Commission that explains the approach (PDF document). I thought it may be interesting for you to review. Of course, the approach is not specifically designed for the states, but can be implemented by the local government as well.
Essentially, the pension fund is ready to foreclose on Fullerton.
First we’ll lose worthless assets like the poisoned park, the bridge & stairs to nowhere, some undeveloped land. Then council will vote for some more hero benefits and CalPERS will change the discount rate again and we’ll move on the hunt branch library, the main branch library, the community center, Hillcrest and so forth. At some point we’ll sell City Hall and Council Chambers to the pension fund which would be fitting considering the heroes and their pensions already own our council and staff.
We’ll do all of this because, according to our council majority the budget is balanced.
Friends, an environmental symbiosis exists in nature when two organisms interact in a way that is mutually beneficial. In the course of human organizational activity we see such symbioses frequently. In the nasty intersection of government and politics such relationships are depressingly common. And nowhere can we see this operation in better form than in the way Fullerton’s politics intersect the management of police business, a business that affects everybody.
Let me begin my essay with a recitation of police behavior in our town that ought to give any decent person reason to give a second thought to nonsense pitched by both the government and the media.
In all of his endeavors Hughes was serially assisted by the smarmy and arrogant Andrew Goodrich, former union goon and, not coincidentally, the otiose and corpulent spokeshole for department. Friends will recall that it was Goodrich who immediately promulgated lies about cops getting broken bones in the aftermath of the Thomas bludgeoning by his cohorts. Goodrich was caught by FFFF over the years selling so much garbage that he was actually nominated for a coveted Fringie® in 2011.
Some of FPD’s bad behavior has suggested a sexual pervy streak running through the department, and a predilection for looking the other way about it. Albert “Alby Al” Rincon, instead of being fired and prosecuted by McKinley for sexual battery, continued to roam Fullerton’s streets looking for victims – gals he no doubt figured would keep their mouths shut. They didn’t, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands and the City a reprimand from a federal judge. Naturally no charges were ever filed.
Recently we’ve been favored with the story of tubby ginger boy Jose Paez, whose “crime” according to tough guy DA Todd Spitzer, was the unauthorized photographing of his victims. Unfortunately for the girls and women he associated with as a school officer in the FJUHSD, what he was taking pictures of was their undergarments – while they were being worn.
A few months ago the story leaked out about an enterprising young FPD lad named Christopher Chiu, who seems to have found a persuasive way to talk a young woman out of her clothes on the top of the Lemon/Chapman parking structure so he could examine her breasts and nether parts in search of “evidence.” Before the courtly charm of playing doctor wore off, he suggested his availability for a dinner date. Yikes.
Former Sergeant Jeff Corbettwas actaully rung up for obstructing justice although seamy stories about sexual escapades while on duty have been circulating for a long time. But to be fair to poor Jeff, it was sending Wild Ride Joe Felz home after the hit-and-run of Sappy McTree that got him busted.
Apart from uncontrolled libido, the gallant gents of the FPD have often displayed their ethical sensibility in an orgy of mayhem against people who hadn’t done anything wrong, or by simply revealing how little they care for the basic concepts of justice. Maybe the cultural shift to full-on violence and callousness was the result of Pat McKinley’s well-known militarization of the FPD.
Jay Cicinelli is known across the globe as the goon who smashed in Kelly Thomas’s face with a Taser handle and admitted it on tape. This one-eyed jack was employed by McKinley as a favor to an old LAPD crony. Now this twice disqualified creep actually wants (or wants us to believe he does) his job back!
Our obese old pal Manuel Ramos had a long history of lazy and oafish behavior as an FPD cop, culminating in the actions that instigated Kelly Thomas’s death. Bully? Check. Overweight slob? Check. Natural born prick? Double Check. FPD material all the way.
Over the years FFFF has related stories from the citizenry about abusive and violent behavior of Fullerton’s cops, particularly those patrolling downtown open air booze court. But none of these stories can equal the brutality and the callous treatment of Veth Mam by one Kenton Hampton. See, Hampton’s official version of the story got real fuzzy after it became clear that his recollection of events strained even the credulity of an OC jury past the breaking point, especially when video evidence showed up in court. During a downtown scuffle involving the cops, Hampton arrived by car upon the scene and knocked the phone camera out of the hand of an innocent bystander, Mam, who was giving away about 100 lbs. to Officer Hampton. After throwing the hapless Mam around like a rag doll, Hampton tossed him in the Fullerton clink where he was charged with assaulting a cop, a story Hampton testified to under oath. Was he ever punished? Of course not. Under “Chief Danny” Big Bad Ham seems to have been promoted to a desk job.
And then there is the laundry list of incompetence or indifference. We first met Miguel “Sonny” Siliceo as he tagged one Emanuel Martinez who spent five months at Theo Lacy courtesy of a deliberate misidentification. Spoke-sphincter Andrew Goodrich comforted us with the words “we try to arrest the right guy.” Years later Siliceo, in a different matter, was convicted of filing a false police report, something very, very hard to accomplish.
And to round out our categories of misconduct, we must pause, I suppose, at least for a moment to reflect on a few of the various petty crimes and thievery perpetrated by our boys and girls in blue.Todd Major ripped off Explorer Scouts to feed his pill habit.April Baughman ripped off the property room of $50,000. Kelly Mejia tried to boost an i-Pad right under the watchful security cameras at the Miami airport. Hugo Garcia was apparently told his services were no longer required after being busted for purloining something or other (off duty, of course; on duty the man was a veritable saint). And then there was the tale of Officer Timothy Gibert, another MADD awardee who got popped out in the high desert defrauding home improvement stores. Just how many small-time thieves and pickpockets we have employed over the years will never be known for sure.
So, finally, let’s end this painful revelation with the not-so funny story about Josh Eddleman and Jerrie Harvey two innocent people jailed and prosecuted due to the bungling of newly minted “detective” Barry Coffman, best known for his enthusiastic handing out of tickets for “excessive horning.” Once againSpokesanus Goodrich informed the public that the FPD really, does try to arrest the right people, gosh darn it, a statement so insincere that maybe not even David Whiting would believe it.
Of course this quivering pyramid of gelatin was the President of the Fullerton Peace Officer’s Association for years and years, supporting political candidates who could be counted on to serve and protect his wayward union members while bestowing lavish pay and benefits.
And here is the nexus of casual corruption: without a compliant city council and their hand-picked city manager, this sad litany of crime and no punishment would be an awful lot shorter. The cop union, along with their “firefighter” brethren and sistren diligently help elect reliable stooges to the city council through vast campaign spending via their political action committees. And what a roll call of dunderheads, incompetents, buffoons, seniles, lackeys and assorted political grifters they have greased into office.
Don’t forget the lengthy corn-pone career of possibly third degree syphilitic Doc Hee Haw – Dick Jones – who once blurted to an aggrieved citizen at a council meeting “you won’t get anywhere bad-mouthing the police in this town.”
Sharon Quirk-Silva was marginally smart enough to dodge the Kelly Thomas fallout and the subsequent recall. But like almost all of Fullerton’s liberal establishment crowd, she blamed the murder on homelessness, not on bad cops. She ignored the cover-up, and did nothing about the Albert Rincon matter, despite proclaiming her outrage on the nightly news wherein we learned she has daughters.
Of course Doug was in need of assistance himself when his carpetbaggin’ wife, Paulette was busted on video stealing campaign signs on private property.
The cop union knows when it has a live one on the line, and never has that bee more true of Jan Flory, who not only trotted around the city council track in the 1990s, she did so again in 2012 with the help of a hundred thou’ of union scrilla. Maybe her vote on the 3@50 was fondly remembered, but more likely the support was for favors to come. Of course she delivered by approving pay raises and by paying out vast legal settlements against Fullerton police that avoided the embarrassment of ugly stuff getting out at trial. Everything gets hushed up and we pay for the silence. And of course, no, reform was not on the table.
No story of the symbiosis between cops and politicians in Fullerton is complete without mention of our lobbyist councilcreature Jennifer Fitzgerald, who has a career monetizing her job “representing” you and me. Jen’ has made it her specialty to cozy up to the cops, including pay raises, quiet settlements costing us millions, and even wasting $50K a year on the utterly moronic “Behind the Badge” propaganda embarrassment. Holier than holy, her best pal was “Chief Danny” with whom she may have conspired, in the early morning of November 9, 2016, to have the cops drive drunken, hit-and-run Joe Burt Felz home and then tuck him in with a warm glass of milk.
And most recently we see the completely dim and inarticulate Jesus Silva, installed in office courtesy of the police union. One wonders how this nincompoop manages to get his shoelaces tied without help, and yet we can be sure of one thing – he will slavishly follow the example of his better half, Sharon Quirk in support of the people who put him in office.
Tonight the Fullerton city council will pretend to go over the results of the Community Stakeholder Survey that just recently wrapped up. Remember that survey? It’s where the city is going to, and I quote:
For the next strategic planning session, the City will conduct a community stakeholder survey prior to working with the City Council to develop Mission and Vision statements, and ultimately set goals to implement the Priority Policy Statements.
We don’t have nice roads but at least we’ll have mission and vision statements.
The whole reason for this dog and pony show is to pretend to do something productive while our roads literally crumble around us each day. We’re in a structural deficit and only balance our budgets by selling capital assets (city owned property) and by not filling vacant positions.
So when people complain that we’re understaffed the current and retired staff are entirely to blame for this problem because they’re eating all of our general fund.
As to the survey itself, how engaged were the people of Fullerton in regards to this important mission of vision questing?
Super engaged, so responsive. The whole city was interested in giving their two cents… Oh. No. Nevermind. Almost nobody even knew this things existed and fewer participated.
706 people responded and 9 sent in written statements via email. That’s it.
It was a truly terrible turnout.
But the city, using that whopping return of 706 survey responses and 9 written statements will march ahead ever ready as a city to talk about what our local government’s priorities should be going forward in an open and honest fashion.
The Fullerton Firefighters are pushing a narrative that they’re understaffed and underpaid on social media, so let’s talk about it.
We constantly hear about how underfunded, unpaid, underappreciated, undereverything our Police and Fire Depts are from the “Hero Deserve” crowd and the opposite side likes to point to pay rates, pension spiking, double dipping, medical presumptive, lies about early death, OT abuse, CalPERS costs and other fiscal rebuttals.
But what we almost never talk about is how we actually implement service and if we do things in a smart, fiscally sound or even common sense way in our departments. Our City Council won’t touch these issues because they’re petrified of the unions spending campaign money against them or they’re colluding with the unions in order to get those sweet, sweet endorsements.
Since council won’t discuss these things openly I figured we can do it ourselves before dropping numerous records requests.
Therefore for the sake of starting discussions I’ll drop two topics;
If our fire engines, with a crew of 4, have a max of 2 Paramedics on board and 85% (per their statements) of their calls are medical then what do the other 2+ crew members do during the majority of these calls? Are they glorified Uber just taxiing the paramedics around? What do they do at the hospital? How much time do these non-paramedics spend doing crowd control and the like?
Every time I see a police stop or call where the police department is at a scene I see multiple vehicles on scene. To the casual observer it seems that there are multiple units at every stop seen. I understand the premise of needing or wanting backup but why not drive around in pairs so you have backup with you at all times instead of needing to wait for it and waste the resources (gas, etc) on another vehicle?
Does anybody have stats on these things? How many calls for FFD are actually medical? How many calls does each crew actually respond to and what do they do on scene? How much OT is accumulated for passive activities?
How many calls does FPD respond to and how many of those calls require backup? How much backup typically responds? What’s the response time for this backup? How is this different for traffic stops versus calls for service?
I think as the city prepares for budget meetings with so much of our budget going towards salaries and pensions these numbers should be discussed and be as transparent as possible. If we need to pay people more to retain them we need to make sure we’re getting the most bang for our buck and the best, most logical and fiscally sound, service possible.
Odds are that the Fullerton City Council will vote tonight to fire the Library Board and replace it with themselves in a cynical attempt to steal property to offset some Police & Fire Pensions. Fitzgerald wants to do it, Chaffee wants to do it and it likely won’t take much effort to convince Silva to do it.
Why? Because the city needs to pad the budget to fill holes left by Public Safety Pensions and totally predictable but avoided CALPers issues.
Thus the City is planning, under Ken Domer’s guidance, to take property donated to the library to plug General Fund budget holes.
Donated. As in stealing charity. Love Fullerton, indeed.
This is the brainchild of Councilwoman Fitzgerald despite her original campaign rhetoric about libraries being a “core service”. I guess we can just add this to the long list of lies Jennifer Fitzgerald said to get elected. We’ll put this one right up there with her promise not to take a salary and to desire to implement zero based budgeting.
Joe Nation of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research will be visiting Fullerton tomorrow for a special presentation on Fullerton’s public pension and retiree medical liabilities.
Back in July I asked the city council to hire Joe Nation and the SIEPR to produce a comprehensive, independent report on Fullerton’s substantial pension debt and its projected impact on Fullerton’s financial future. While the full report won’t be available for a few more weeks, Joe has agreed to make a special presentation to the council at the Fullerton Public Library on Tuesday at 4:00 pm. The presentation will be recorded and posted online in a day or two. An agent of CalPERS will be on hand to present his viewpoint, as well.
With skyrocketing pension debt affecting cities throughout California and the nation, it’s important for Fullerton to understand where we are headed and what this city will lose if we don’t address these issues head-on. This independent analysis will be an important step towards the goal of reining in our debt and ensuring the city’s financial stability over the long haul.
Thanks to the City of Bell scandal, local governments are now required to report compensation figures to the state every year. The other day a reader shared that report with us.
This is the first time that we’ve been able to see pension contributions, insurance premiums, overtime, etc. added together for each of the city’s employees, showing us the full value (and cost to the taxpayer) of a job with the city of Fullerton.
The city clerk called me tonight to let me know that someone had come in to protest my sample ballot statement. She says this person took issue with the following claim:
Has Fullerton’s pension debt really risen to half a billion dollars?
Yes. According to the CalPERS pension system’s own analysis in this OCRegister article, the lump-sum payment to close out all of Fullerton’s pension liabilities (debt) right now is somewhere between $456,000,000 and $540,000,000.
It’s hard to blame anyone for doubting this figure, as the number is simply unbelievable. But it’s 100% true. That’s half a billion dollars which must somehow be paid off by my children and yours, all thanks to the unchecked generosity of union-backed councilmen like Don Bankhead and Dick Jones.
Here’s a republication of a post from early November. It details the extravagant pension payouts bestowed upon Fullerton employees. Of particular note are the number of rank and file cops and firemen on the list. How did they get there? Courtesy of enormous salaries and of course the disastrous 3@50 formula approved by Council barnacles Bankhead and Jones. That single decision created a massive unfunded actuarial liability that is the legal responsibility of every citizen of Fullerton.
And there’s Pat McPension, the architect of the FPD Culture of Corruption, who makes $121K off of us each year for doing nothing.
This list will no doubt receive a lot of attention during the recall campaign
– Joe Sipowicz
Originally published November 4, 2011
Another year has passed and another set of City of Fullerton retirees have added to the growing unfunded pension liability that will plague us for generations. In fact, membership has swelled by a startling 41% this year alone.
The most notable new member is retired City Manager Chris Meyer, who has plopped himself in the second spot with a $170,984.52 per year reward for all the time he spent carefully overlooking the mismanagement of the Fullerton PD and the vast expansion of the city’s pension debt.
Meyer was spotted at yesterday’s anti-recall fundraiser, too. That’s no surprise to us, since Bankhead and Jones did attempt a retroactive pension spike in 2008 that would have sent Meyer’s own pension into orbit just a few years before his exit.
Some of our loyal readers have asked about the 3 @ 50 pension formula that many, if not most “public safety” employees receive. It’s pretty simple. You get to retire at age 50. The 3 is a multiplier applied to the number of years you have been employed. The guy or gal who works for 30 years would get 90% of his or her highest salary as a pension. For life. Pretty sweet gig, eh?
Many public agencies also tack on other benefits as income, boosting pensions even higher. The worst scam of all is foisted on the public by the agencies that consider the taxpayer’s payment of the employees’ share of pension paycheck deductions as income counted toward their pensions. This charming little ripoff is known colloquially as “PERS on PERS,” PERS being an acronym for Public Employee Retirement System.
So, what is the tie in to Fullerton?
Well, let’s start with the Three Dyspeptic Dinosaurs, Bankhead, Jones, and McKinley. Back in 2001, at the behest of Andy Goodrich and his union, these two voted to give the 3 @50 formula for the Fullerton Police and Fire Departments. The decision was voluntary and wittingly done. If that weren’t bad enough, of course the benefit was applied retroactively, meaning that many cops and firemen who had worked for decades under the previous formula were suddenly handed a titanic bonanza of taxpayer confiscated wealth, with the single stroke of Mayor Don Bankhead’s pen. And that single stroke of glaring incompetence has contributed to a massive unfunded pension liability that Fullerton citizens will have to carry indefinitely.
And who is one of the principle beneficiaries of this generosity with the public purse? You guessed it. Former police Chief and current councilman Pat McKinley, who has picked up the moniker “Pat McPension” for his $215,000 a year pension – far more than he ever made working.
Now this profligate behavior with public funds is typically the sort of behavior attributed to liberal Democrats. In Fullerton the heist was perpetrated by allegedly “conservative” Republicans who believe wearing stupid lapel pins is what really matters. Well, they sold us out, folks.