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Daily Pilot

Mailbag: Outsourcing the jail is 'illegal,' 'misguided'

5:36 PM PDT, June 8, 2013

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The Costa Mesa City Employees Assn. continues to maintain it is misguided, as well as illiegal, public policy for the City Council to hand over control of its public jail to a private corporation.

However, the city's employees applaud the council's willingness to, as part of its decision to outsource jails, include a clear and indisputable commitment to preserving the jobs of its dedicated work force.

The City Council approved outsourcing jail services on Tuesday, but only after Councilwoman Sandy Genis amended the original motion to include a commitment to use all means available to avoid layoffs.

In the coming days and weeks, the CMCEA team will continue to engage the city in what we hope will be positive and productive discussions, and we are hopeful those discussions can remain out of the courtroom.

CMCEA remains committed to working to protect the jobs and economic security of all the city's dedicated employees.

CMCEA members will continue to seek opportunities to work collaboratively with the city, and we will continue to monitor the public and private statements and actions of the city's leaders to ensure their commitment to preserving jobs.

Many of the targeted employees at the city's jails have worked in Costa Mesa for more than a decade, and every one continues to be committed to maintaining and improving the quality of life for Costa Mesa families.

Jennifer Muir

Orange County Employees Assn.

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School district benefits

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District's remarks in the Daily Pilot on May 26 are disappointing on so many levels.

While the California School Employees Assn., the Newport Mesa Federation of Teachers and the Newport-Mesa Unified School District are in negotiations, the superintendent has decided to go public regarding benefits.

Before the era of former Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard, the employee contracts provided a maximum 10% increase in employer contribution to benefits of all employees These funds were budgeted to include the effect of inflation on medical and dental insurance rates.

After Hubbard became the superintendent, the 10% district contribution disappeared from the contracts, and since then the Benefits Committee has tried to determine what the plan will be. Without knowing the district's contribution, it is virtually impossible to make reasoned decisions regarding the healthcare of employees in the district. How can the Benefits Committee possibly know what to cut or tweak in the plan without having knowledge of the district contribution?

Current Supt. Fred Navarro has said that the more he learns about the federal Affordable Care Act, the more anxious he gets.

Since no one really knows how the healthcare act is going to play out, or how much it will cost, it is not surprising that Navarro doesn't fully understand how this will affect NMUSD.

The Cadillac Tax is probably going to stay in the law, and at this point it is unclear whether NMUSD will fall under it. Even if it does, there are many ways to deal with it. Although plans must be made, the district has time to plan, since the tax doesn't go into effect until 2018, which is five years away.

Newport-Mesa has a great insurance plan because of the diligent efforts of many.

I am sure that Navarro is as serious about the employees' health, and I would only suggest that determining how many millions of dollars Newport-Mesa might have to spend is premature and a little like the situation that the Benefits Committee has experienced in making decisions without knowing the facts.

Sandy Asper

Newport Beach

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Water district transparency

Recently, the Mesa Water District changed its financial strategy from "Be financially responsible and maintain competitive rates" to "Be financially responsible and transparent."

In changing this goal it leaves the impression the district is not that concerned about the rates it charges customers. One would hope that the goal that replaced it would be important, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

The district is getting ready to discuss and approve the budget for the next fiscal year. This document lays out the financial plan, the spending priorities and what will be accomplished with the rates collected.

It is probably the most important financial document the board considers during the year. The meeting for this review and possible approval is taking place at 3:30 p.m. instead of in the evening when the regular board meetings are held.

This earlier time allows for less public participation in the process, thereby reducing transparency. If the district was serious about being financially transparent, it would hold this important meeting at a time that would allow for more public input and involvement.

Glynis Litvak

Costa Mesa

The writer is a former Mesa Water District employee.