Public employees push off retirement

A survey performed by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence shows that public sector employees are delaying retirement as a result of the sagging economy:

WASHINGTON, DC – The slumping economy is holding back retirements among state and local government employees, according to a new survey of government managers, sponsored by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence.

A Tidal Wave Postponed: The Economy and Public Sector Retirements finds that almost half (49 percent) of the respondents to the membership survey said 20 percent or more of their workers are eligible to retire in the next five years. And an overwhelming majority (80 percent) said the economy is affecting the timing of retirements.

Of those, 85 percent said employees are delaying retirements, while only 9 percent said they are accelerating their retirements to avoid changes that will reduce benefits, and 7 percent said employees are taking incentives for early retirement.

“There is a silver lining to the delayed retirements,” said Elizabeth Kellar, executive director of the Center for State and Local Government Excellence. “Governments have a lot of older workers who work in specialized fields and are hard to replace. Retaining these individuals a little longer gives us more time to help new employees prepare to fill their shoes.” Read more.

While the survey goes into the effects that losing qualified employees has on a public agency and the importance in developing plans to replace these workers when they leave, it does not discuss the fiscal impacts postponing retirement has on taxpayers’ coffers.

UPDATED: Chung sues West Covina

Just got confirmation from the West Covina City Clerk’s office that the city was served with a lawsuit on behalf of Community Development Director Chris Chung, who alleges that Mayor Roger Hernandez subjected him to a hostile work enviornment. I’m going now to pick up the 66 page lawsuit.**

1:21 p.m. And I’m back. The lawsuit is NOT 66 pages…it’s only 17**. Here is the preliminary story. FYI: He doesn’t mention a dollar amount in the lawsuit. However, back when he made the claim with the city, he demanded $3 million.

West Covina employee sues city, Mayor

WEST COVINA — A city employee claims Mayor Roger Hernandez harassed him since 2003 and the city didn’t do anything to stop it, according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of Community Development Director Chris Chung.

In the 17-page complaint, which was served on the city May 5 and filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court March 10, Chung claims he was discriminated based on race, that the city failed to prevent harassment and that he suffered emotional distress, including insomnia.

Beginning around March 2003, “Chung, who is of Asian ancestry, has been the target of racially motivated harassment, intimidation, bullying, false accusations of incompetence, (and) insider dealing … by Hernandez, who is Hispanic,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit details events that have occurred from 2003 to 2006 where Chung said he was subjected to a hostile work environment by Hernandez.

Hernandez did not return calls seeking comment.

Among them was an incidence that occurred on March 20, 2006, where Hernandez allegedly “stormed into” Chung’s office and accused him of running a dysfunctional department.

“His tirade was laced with profanity (repeatedly using the “f” word to refer to Chung and his staff,” the lawsuit states. “Hernandez made threatening gestures with his fists, kept waving and shaking his hand and fingers at Chung’s face compelling Chung to retreat behind his desk for protection.”

The lawsuit also states that Hernandez called Chung a liar, that Hernandez threatened to fire Chung and that Chung’s reputation and standing in the community has suffered because of Hernandez’s actions.

Hernandez did not return calls seeking comment.

City officials said they were anticipating the lawsuit. It follows a claim filed nearly two years ago in which Chung demands $3 million and job protection with the city of West Covina until retirement.

The lawsuit does not provide a figure in the amount of damages, including attorney’s fees, Chung is seeking.

Chung did not return calls seeking comment.

Election stories round-up

Reporter Rebecca Kimitch has been – and will continue to be – working on a series of election stories leading up to the 32nd Congressional District race next Tuesday.

Here’s a recap of some of those stories that ran over the weekend:

  • The 32nd Congressional District is full of ethnic diversity. The question, then, is whether race will place a role in this race…. read on here

 

  • As many expected, voter turnout in this race isn’t likely to be very high, especially since its coupled with a host of confusing ballot initiatives….. read on here

Leftovers column

The latest installment:

You can’t have a campaign without political mailers, and apparently you can’t have political mailers without a little scandal.

Sen. Gil Cedillo is getting a negative reaction from the recent round of mailers he sent out attacking Emanuel Pleitez, 26, one of 11 competitors facing Cedillo in the 32nd Congressional District race.

The mailers show pictures of Pleitez found on Facebook and accuse him of “flashing gang signs” and being a “party animal.”

“Pleitez has tremendous potential. He is an intelligent young man and probably has a great future in politics,” said Victor Abalos, spokesman for the Cedillo campaign. “But those photos indicated a level of maturity that was inappropriate for someone running for Congress.”

Dante Atkins, the Political Director of the Los Angeles County Young Democrats — which endorsed Cedillo — recently wrote on the Calitics California Political Blog that he was offended by Cedillo’s mailers.

“This is really a low blow,” he said, “and smacks of desperation to have to resort to this.”
Emily Dulcan,spokeswoman for Pleitez, said the photos were taken out of context. Most of them were taken while Pleitez was at a study-abroad program in Chile through Stanford University.

“We feel like it was definitely an immature move on (Cedillo’s) part, which is ironic considering the content of the claim in the mailer,” Dulcan said.

****One city manager out, another one in
Somewhere in the San Gabriel Valley last week, the city manager revolving door was swinging.

As Temple City bid farewell to its top executive, Covina was welcoming in a new city manager.

Charles Martin got the boot from the Temple City Council on Tuesday, according to reporter Alfred Lee.

That essentially ends a 55-year public employee career for Martin, 85, who had been serving as Temple City’s city manager and city attorney since 2005. He’ll stay on as interim city attorney until the end of the month, according to Lee.

Martin, who is 85, initially wanted to keep his city manager gig until a replacement was found, Mayor Judy Wong told Lee.

But the council decided to move forward instead.

“To eliminate him from both positions would have been quite too much for him, so I was thinking to maybe do it more gently,” Wong said.

In Covina, city officials are welcoming its newest addition to the team with open arms.

After weeks of delay and negotiating, the city finally announced the hiring of Daryl Parrish as the new city manager.

He will replace interim City Manager Cynthia Kurtz.

*****Covina hospital gets a second chance

It looks like Covina is a place for second chances.

In April, the City Council denied a 39-bed expansion to Aurora Charter Oak Hospital.
But officials have recently had a change of heart.

Last week, the council overturned its earlier decision and are looking forward to revised plans for the project.

City officials said representatives of the psychiatric hospital have shown a renewed willingness to “reach a compromise” with concerned residents on the project.

Those residents aren’t so sure.

“They have never been honest with us,” neighbor Ron Poloni said. “They say they are willing to work with us now, but we will have to wait and see.”

More endorsements for Cedillo

We’re just a little over a week away from the 32nd Congressional District race, and Cedillo is still pulling in those endorsements. Here’s the latest press release from Cedillo’s people:

El Monte, CA – State Senator Gil Cedillo has earned the endorsement of the community newspaper company Eastern Group Publications (EGP) for the 32nd Congressional District seat. The influential Eastern Group Publications reaches 104,000 households a week and has a loyal readership of nearly half a million people in Los Angeles County.

Earlier this week, the largest Spanish language newspaper in the country, La Opinin, also endorsed Senator Cedillo for Congress.

The Eastern Group Publications’ Special Elections Ballot Recommendations editorial stated: “Our endorsement goes to State Senator Gil Cedillo. Mr. Cedillo has been able to convince us that he will represent California’s small business owners and their workers in an effective and resourceful way.”

“His view that our notion of infrastructure should no longer be solely about brick and mortar projects, but also about a new network of social service infrastructure, such as building a new healthcare delivery system, deals with the changing nature of business and services in the US. We also believe that as the debate on immigration reform heats up in the Senate and Congress, his extensive knowledge of the issue will serve California and the country well.” (To read endorsement, please visit http://egpnews.com/?p=9556)

Eastern Group Publications owns and operates 10 bilingual community newspapers including the Eastside Sun, Northeast Sun, Mexican American Sun, Belle Garden Sun, City Terrace Comet, Montebello Comet, Monterey Park Comet, Commerce Comet, East LA/Belvedere Comet and the Wyvernwood Chronicle.

What do you think. Will it be enough?

From Colton to Covina

Here’s a story printed in our sister paper, the San Bernardino Sun, about new Covina City Manager Daryl Parrish:

Colton city manager headed to Covina
Michael J. Sorba, Staff Writer
Posted: 05/07/2009 06:38:35 PM PDT

COLTON – City Manager Daryl Parrish has resigned to become the city manager of Covina, it was announced Thursday.

His last day with Colton will be sometime after May 14, Parrish said. The City Council will discuss its strategy to find a replacement at a meeting Tuesday, he said.

“Transitions can be bittersweet as this one certainly is,” Parrish said, “as I leave behind a gifted, talented and caring staff, a community on the brink of exciting and dynamic change, and a mayor and council who I feel will rise to face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead with vision, determination and hopefully with solidarity.

Assistant City Manager Mark Nuaimi can fill the role of “acting city manager” while a replacement for Parrish is sought, but law prohibits a mayor of one city from also being the city manager in another, Parrish said. Nuaimi is Mayor of Fontana.

Parrish began working in Colton in 1991 with the Redevelopment Department. He became assistant city manager in 1996 and city manager in 2001.

“Daryl has been a dedicated servant to the people of Colton,” Councilman Richard DeLaRosa said. “He’s provided the leadership in tough times and I hope this opportunity benefits him and his family.”

A news release from Covina says Parrish will start his new job June 1. He will make a base annual salary of $199,500, the release said. Parrish’s base annual salary with Colton was about $193,000, he said.

“I really appreciate him for his good work in Colton, but most of all I’m going to miss having this caliber of a person around,” Councilman Vince Yzaguirre said. “He’s a good man.”

Boxer applauds Gold Line money

I spotted this in my inbox this morning:

 

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today lauded U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s announcement that $66.7 million in the economic recovery package will be used for Metro’s Gold Line Eastside Extension project.

This funding is part of a $742.5 million commitment for transit projects in nine states.

Senator Boxer said, “The people of Los Angeles know gridlock, traffic congestion and poor air quality all too well. I am so pleased that funding from the economic recovery package will be used to support this important transit project to ease congestion, reduce air pollution and improve our daily lives.”

The Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension Project, a six-mile light rail project that includes 1.8 miles of tunnel and eight new stations, will connect Los Angeles Union Station with East Los Angeles via Little Tokyo/Art District and Boyle Heights.

Senator Boxer has helped secure federal funding for the project and visited the project’s construction site last year.

Covina hires new City Manager

Jennifer McLain just posted this bit of information on our Web site:

COVINA – Ten months after the firing of the city’s top executive, elected leaders have finally decided on a new City Manager.

Daryl Parrish, who for the past eight years has served as Colton city manager, will serve as Covina’s city manager effective June 1.

“I am very, very excited about taking the reign of a city that has tremendous assets, a vibrant downtown, a staff that is talented, and a City Council that works hard and likes to move things forward,” Parrish said Thursday.

Parrish accepted the $199,500 contract on Wednesday, and informed Colton council members on Thursday that he accepted the position in Covina, Mayor Walt Allen said.

His first day on the job in Covina is June 1.

“I am very excited and I think that it he will be a good fit for the city,” Allen said. “And the council unanimously believes that, too.”

Feisty fliers

With 12 days until the election, the fists, well, fliers, are coming out. And in some cases, these fliers are just downright entertaining. Here is the latest one sent by Betty Tom Chu – who dropped the Tom for this election – attacking Judy Chu.

27609-chuflier.jpg

(If you have recently received a flier from any candidate, send it in and we’ll get it on the blog.)