County Supervisors Chairman Bill Campbell Tuesday led his colleagues on the all-Republican — and often anti-government — panel in a collective cheer over the accomplishments of…county government.
Campbell opened his state of the county address by asking his colleagues to talk about their districts. And one by one, each extolled the virtues of government.
“We have a marvelous county,” Campbell said. “And we should reflect on that each day.”
Campbell even talked about having public employee profiles up at the board dais each meeting.
Even the newest Republican supervisor, Fullerton’s Shawn Nelson, who ran a hard campaign against public employee unions, spoke passionately on Tuesday about how government actually works.
Nelson recounted how a conversation with his pastor about people looking for work got his staff to connect them with the county job center.
He’s also realized that the county has myriad senior services as he traveled to numerous senior centers. He ended his remarks noting how he was realizing that the county government is a “force multiplier” for cities across the region in terms of service delivery.
County CEO Tom Mauk touted the work of numerous departments, such as OC Parks for managing the acquisition of 20,000 acres of open space from the Irvine Company.
He credited various departments and program initiatives such as the anniversary of the Orangewood Children and Family Center, the implementation of the OC Alert reverse 911 service, the airport expansion, green energy programs at OC Waste and Recycling and the 10-year plan to end homelessness
He also told supervisors that public employees across numerous departments had not only absorbed layoffs and numerous cost reductions in recent years, they had helped each department bolster general fund reserves by 20 percent.
Mauk credited county supervisors for guiding the effort to glide down at five percent increments in recent years saying the workers productivity was “remarkable.”
He also credited the count’s labor partners, particularly the Orange County Employee Association General Manager Nick Berardino for cooperating on pension changes.
Berardino also congratulated county employees, but did not join Mauk and the supervisors in patting management on the back. He brought up the 5 percent pay cut that the county’s executive ranks — and supervisors — took back this month.
“The county and its’ employees have achieved great things this year,” Berardino said. [But] there’s certainly not been any leadership on the part of the county’s executives in the area of real costs savings. That’s been on the backs of the true leaders of the county, the employees.”
— NORBERTO SANTANA, JR.