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Costa Mesa mourns city worker who killed himself after getting layoff notice

Officer Cristina Goodfellow of the Costa Mesa Police Department kneels beside a memorial for city maintenance worker Huy Pham at Costa Mesa City Hall on Friday. Pham, 29, jumped to his death from the roof of City Hall the day before.

Hundreds are expected to encircle Costa Mesa City Hall on Monday to remember a city worker who committed suicide last week after learning he might be laid off.

City maintenance worker Huy Pham jumped to his death from atop City Hall on Thursday, hours after the city announced it had sent layoff notices to nearly half of its workers.

Costa Mesa is making the cuts in an effort to reduce pension costs and contract out more city services to private firms.

On Friday, some employees flew into a rage as City Council members arrived at the scene of Pham's death. One man had to be held back by co-workers, and another cursed at Chief Executive Tom Hatch in the City Hall lobby, witnesses said.

"I feel as if the council and their quick-acting decisions pushed [Pham] over the edge," Daniel Jojola, who worked alongside Pham, said Friday as friends and co-workers gathered for a lunch next to a makeshift memorial for Pham.

Noticeably absent from City Hall in the hours after Pham's death was Mayor Gary Monahan, who was working the St. Patrick's Day night shift at his bar, Skosh Monahan's, about two miles away on Newport Boulevard.

He released a statement expressing sadness at Pham's death but also struck a defiant note against people who had criticized him for posing for pictures in St. Patrick's Day garb outside his restaurant.

"What is lost in all of the rhetoric is the fact that this is a tragic incident in the midst of a very difficult situation," Monahan wrote.

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-- Joseph Serna, Daily Pilot / Times Community News

Photo: Officer Cristina Goodfellow of the Costa Mesa Police Department kneels beside a memorial for city maintenance worker Huy Pham at Costa Mesa City Hall on Friday. Pham, 29, jumped to his death from the roof of City Hall the day before. Credit: Kent Treptow / Times Community News

 
Comments () | Archives (4)

Laying off half of the city workers is a good start. And a note to Daniel Jojola: The council didn't push Pham over the edge. This guy was only 27 years old. He had his whole life ahead of him. Obviously, he had some inner demons that he couldn't deal with and he took the coward's way out. When are city workers going to realize that the rest of the world has been dealing with layoffs and failing pensions for years??? Nobody put a gun to their head and said "YOU MUST GET A JOB WITH THE CITY!" 3/4 of city workers are GROSSLY overpaid with obscene pensions and retirement packages. I love to hear when city and govt workers are laid off! :)

I understand the pain he may have been going thru, but to be so selfish to only think of his pain, I don't think he deserves all this attention. To me all suicides are selfish acts, they don't believe in our Father, who can and would of turned things around. We can not make it by ourselves! I will be praying for his family.

It drives me nuts that all you angry people continue to spew crap. Come work a day in our shoes. Come get vomited on or have feces thrown at you or have to try to control someone covered in blood. Is this the type of job you deal with on a day to day. I bet you sit behind a nice little desk in your nice little office or cubicle. We are not 'grossly overpaid' or have 'obscene pensions' ... we put into our pension so get your facts straight. We continue to give City Council ideas on how to cut back on thing without layoffs. To Mark how sad you are to feel happy that someone lost their job. I would not wish this upon anyone .. we all have to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. You are sad and I feel sorry for you.

@ Mark.... get your facts straight before you start commenting on others. Daniel Jojola worked along side Huy. Huy wasn't 27. laying off 200 some employees was not the answer. Especially when the council didn't even listen to the community and didn't try to work with the union to come up with a solution . The employees have been nothing more then compliant. they took a pay cut, the took furlows and already went through layoff of 100 in some employees in June of 2010. So again... get your facts straight. Put your self in the roller coaster of ups and downs that the council has put the employees through.


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About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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