Mr. President, Mr. Spinmaster….

Oh, Yeah, Mr. President…The Economy Is Getting Better!  And I’ve got some ocean front property in Montana I’d like to sell you.  However, the pigs are still at the trough.

Ventura County is on California’s central coast.  The population, via the 2010 census, is 823,318 composed racially of 49% white (down 2% from 2000), 2% black, and 40% Hispanic (up 32% from 2000).

And the economy?  No matter what the spin masters of the White House try and tell us, we have increased unemployment.  In January unemployment was up, again, to 9.7%.  And like all the country’s unemployment reporting, it doesn’t count those who’ve merely given up.

And what’s government doing about it?  Well, Oxnard, one of the primary towns in Ventura County, has a city administrator, Sotero, who’s on paid suspension, suspected of misdeeds.  While on suspension his salary was increased to $278,000 a year ($28,000 more than the vice president of the U.S.), with benefits it totals $411,000 a year ($11,000 more than the president of the U.S.).  The Ventura Star reports even more:

ED SOTELO, CITY MANAGER, CITY OF OXNARD, CA

  • $266,014 base salary
  • $42,199 in “leave benefits”
  • $26, 512 in “deferred Compensation,”
  • $21,883 in Medical Benefits
  • $266,014 in PENSION BENEFITS
  • $1,000 in “other” benefits

Total Compensation Package for Oxnard City Manager  Edward Sotelo is $623,622.00.

 

And this from the Ventura Star newspaper:

John Crombach will earn more as a city retiree than he made as Oxnard’s police chief — plus earn a six-figure salary in his new job as one of two Ventura County assistant sheriffs.

Together, his city pension and county base salary will total $396,955 a year. And if he works for the county long enough, he could get a second pension.

This double-dose of public pay is allowed because the county has a different pension plan than the state system used by the city of Oxnard and scores of other cities. While it’s completely legal, the case is emblematic of what critics see as a broken system: They say government officials shouldn’t be able to collect full pensions until they actually stop working on the public payroll.

Does anyone else out there find this ludicrous?  Does anyone out there wonder why California is bankrupt, even though they don’t yet admit to the fact?

Of course the city administrator of a small town or the retired police chief, will not, odds are, be able to get a multimillion dollar advance for his memoirs, nor be able to found a Bill Clinton type foundation, nor get hundreds of thousands of dollars a year (or millions) for speaking engagements.  So he’s got to get it while the getting is good, and while many of his town’s citizens stand in unemployment lines.  If he’s guilty (Ed Sotelo), as I suspect he is, I hope he’s standing in a prison line…of course in California that means free dental and health care far better than those on the outside, television, a weight room, and conjugal visitation.  And I’m sure he won’t lose his retirement.  What’s wrong with that picture?

And the city manager, he’s probably, at least, got a genuine birth certificate.  What’s government coming to?

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