The Santa Ana City Council Monday passed what could be called its first post-crisis budget, adopting a two-year spending plan that beefs up reserves, potentially restores furlough hours to city employees and provides small increases to the police and code enforcement budgets, according to the Voice of OC.
The Voice of OC’s Santa Ana reporter, Adam Elmahrek, wrote that the SAPD is reorganizing in the wake of the departure of former Santa Ana police chief Paul Walters, who was fired by our City Council for no good reason earlier this year. But while Elmahrek tried to make it look like Walters wasted money on the SAPD in the past, he also had to admit that it was due to Walters that we have a budget at all this year – “This year, thanks in large part to the decision to outsource the city’s fire protection, the city is working with a reserve of between $27 and $30 million.”
That’s right. Walters was the one who led the charge to outsource the Santa Ana Fire Department to the O.C. Fire Authority. That action saved our city budget. His reward? He got canned. Unbelievable! That decision looks even dumber now as Walters’ budget maneuvers continue to pay benefits that the City Council is taking the credit for. And don’t forget that they ended up paying $24K a month to Kevin O’Rourke the temp city manager they hired to replace Walters. O’Rourke is doing absolutely nothing that Walters could not have done better.
Elmahrek admits that the budget is precarious. He’s right about that. The Santa Ana police union is negotiating a new contract and “The employees expect the return of a combined 80,000 in work hours this next fiscal year. Police officers would be able to cash in overtime and unused time off they had deferred and receive overtime pay instead of compensatory time off for extra hours worked.”
Isn’t it time to outsource the SAPD to the O.C. Sheriff’s Department? Police and fire protection consume approximately 70 percent of the general fund budget. There really is nowhere else left to cut in a city that has already outsourced thousands of city jobs…