Costa Mesa launches 'fact check' campaign to fight outsourcing criticism
Costa Mesa City Hall is fighting back against an organized-labor ad campaign critical of its employee-outsourcing plan with a "fact check" campaign of its own.
"We are trying to make sure the public gets the facts about the Costa Mesa budget and then can draw their conclusions about the best direction to go," said Costa Mesa's interim communications director, William Lobdell, a former Los Angeles Times reporter. "We're trying to create an equal playing field for debate based on facts."
In a news release Tuesday, Lobdell noted what he said were misstatements in a recent TV spot by the citizen group Repair Costa Mesa, which claimed the City Council has laid off half its workers and that city Chief Executive Tom Hatch has a $10,000 annual car allowance.
The release said the city has only issued layoff notices informing 213 city employees -- about 43% of the city's workforce -- that their jobs will be outsourced in September. Of those workers, nearly 100 are firefighters who could be employed with the Orange County Fire Authority should the city contract with that agency.
Also, city officials have said, the notices were issued to meet a six-month advance-notice requirement and may not include all 200-plus workers. If the city cannot find a suitable outside company to provide some services, the layoff notices could be rescinded, they said.
"Regardless of how the City Council's plans to outsource services materialize, the fact remains that employees received notices that they won't have a job in six months," said Jennifer Muir, spokeswoman for the Orange County Employees Assn. "The pink slips did not say, 'You might not have a job', or 'Your job is negotiable.'"
-- Joseph Serna, Daily Pilot / Times Community News