MOORLACH UPDATE — My Seat — May 16, 2013

The Huntington Beach Independent and the Daily Pilot provide an update on potential candidates for upcoming elected office vacancies in the first piece below. When I was going through the process some seven years ago, former Second District Supervisor Harriett Wieder liked to remind me of what I was doing. “You’re running for my seat,” was her oft repeated comment. Now I have someone else considering a run for “my seat.” Joe Carchio is local, and that gives him the historical perspective to be a great potential candidate. We currently serve together on two countywide boards, the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) and the Orange County Vector Control District Board.

The second piece is from KPCC 89.3 FM and is an update on the two rescued hikers.

BONUS: I have an opening for the Special Needs in Transit Advisory Committee (SNAC) for the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) (Pamela.Newcomb).

H.B. leaders consider political moves

Councilmen Matthew Harper and Joe Carchio are keeping their eyes on county and state offices.

By Anthony Clark Carpio

Two Huntington Beach councilmen are looking to take on bigger roles in Orange County.

Mayor Pro Tem Matthew Harper is considering running for the 74th Assembly District, while Councilman Joe Carchio is contemplating throwing his name into the Orange County Board of Supervisors election.

This comes on the heels of Assemblyman Allan Mansoor’s (R-Costa Mesa) consideration of replacing Supervisor John Moorlach in the 2nd District, an area that encompasses Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach.

The mayor pro tem said he is looking at two routes: If Mansoor decides to seek reelection in the state assembly, Harper would support that decision and run for Mansoor’s position when his term ends in 2016. Alternatively, if the assemblyman chooses to run for county supervisor, Harper would look to succeed him in his state seat in 2014.

The 74th Assembly District covers portions of Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine and Laguna Beach.

"Huntington Beach needs a strong conservative representative, one that understands Huntington Beach and Orange County," Harper said. "With my experience on the high school board for 12 years, on City Council and my experience with the county, that puts me in the best position to effectively represent Huntington Beach in the state Legislature."

Besides his work with the City Council, Harper serves on the Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors. He also has some experience with the county, serving as Supervisor Janet Nguyen’s deputy chief of staff.

Harper said he was surprised when he heard Mansoor was considering vying for a supervisor seat.

"My plan is to run for reelection, but if Allan Mansoor should decide not to run for reelection, then I would run [for the district]," he said.

Harper’s council colleague Joe Carchio is also considering a move. He sent exploratory letters last week to those in the political community, asking if he should run for a supervisor seat.

"I’m waiting for their responses," said Carchio, whose term on the City Council ends in 2014. "If it comes back positive, I will make an announcement. If it doesn’t, then I will think of something else to do."

Carchio was the mayor of Huntington Beach in 2010 and currently serves as a liaison to numerous groups, such as the Children’s Needs Task Force and the Fourth of July Board.

He said he didn’t have post-term plans, but after being approached by people who thought he would be a good candidate to fill Moorlach’s position, the council member started to think about running.

"I have the qualifications, and whether to continue is another thing," Carchio said. "I have a feeling in the back of my mind that I’d like to [run for supervisor], but if I’m the only one that thinks that and other people don’t, then there’s no sense in doing it."

Orange County won’t bill hikers for $160,000 rescue

Ben Bergman

Orange County Supervisors have concluded they don’t have the authority to bill two young hikers for the $160,000 it cost to rescue them last month.

Rescuers from six different agencies spent five days combing the rugged hills of Trabuco Canyon. Friends and family rejoiced when Nicolas Cendoya and Kyndall Jack were finally found. But for some, that relief quickly turned to anger when authorities announced they found meth in Cendoya’s parked car. He was later arrested.

Some suggested the pair should reimburse the government for the costs involved in finding them.

But on Tuesday, Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach said under California law, the county doesn’t have the authority to recover those costs.

"Currently the rules state that if someone needs to get rescued, they get rescued. And it’s just part of doing business in the county," said Moorlach.

That may not be true for long. Moorlach said supervisors may take up legislation as soon as next week that would allow the county to go after costs for future rescues.

Also next week, Cendoya is due in court next week to answer to one felony count of possession of a controlled substance.

FIVE-YEAR LOOK BACKS

May 15

2008

Stuart Pfeifer and Christian Berthelsen of the LA Times provided the initial efforts of the new Performance Audit Department in “Soaring Orange County deputy overtime cost spurs audit – Some top $100,000 a year in OT, suggesting to a county supervisor that hiring more officers might save money.” Overtime pays time-and-one-half, but it is not considered when computing eligible compensation for retirement purposes. The cost of the retirement contribution for a deputy sheriff is now above 50 cents for every dollar of compensation. Consequently, the County may find it cheaper to pay overtime versus hiring more deputies.

Concerned about the spiraling cost of overtime in the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Supervisor John Moorlach has asked a county auditor to study whether the department should hire more deputies instead of paying them tens of millions of dollars in overtime.

The Times reported Wednesday that the sheriff’s overtime expenses have soared during the last few years, with two-thirds of the department’s 1,700 sworn deputies now making more than $100,000 annually. Last year, 27 deputies collected more than $75,000 in overtime, and four earned more than $100,000 on top of their base salaries.

"We have to take a hard look at whether this overtime is justified," Moorlach said Wednesday. "Taxpayers get concerned when they think someone is gaming the system. We need to verify that this approach to manpower management within the Sheriff’s Department was appropriate."

Moorlach said he had asked Steve Danley, the county’s performance auditor, to study whether the department relies too heavily on overtime and, if so, how much overtime is appropriate.

In the last three years, the department’s overtime budget has soared from $26 million to more than $49 million. Counting salary and benefits, the money could pay for more than 300 additional deputies.

Moorlach said he also wanted Danley to study whether the department could save money by switching from three-day to four-day workweeks. Deputies currently work three 12-hour shifts a week and one 8-hour shift twice a month.

Acting Sheriff Jack Anderson, concerned that some may have worked more than policy allows, has said he asked his staff to produce monthly reports tracking deputy overtime. Supervisor Bill Campbell on Wednesday applauded that plan but said the reports should be shared with the Board of Supervisors so it too could monitor the cost. Campbell said he planned to make such a request at the board’s meeting next week.

"These are big numbers," Campbell said. "They should be controlled."

Supervisor Chris Norby, meanwhile, said he thought the department should hire more deputies to ease its overtime spending, adding that those who work 12-hour shifts need to rest on their days off. "It’s one thing to use overtime to fill the gaps and something else to use it as a way of life," Norby said.

In another move that would give county supervisors more control over Sheriff’s Department spending, board members are poised to vote next week on a proposal that would change how certain department funds are spent.

Such a shift could eliminate a system that has allowed the department to build up lush reserves beyond the county’s control.

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