A little Yorba Linda history.
They (Schwing, Anderson and Rikel) blindsided fellow Yorba Linda council members and their city manager, and fired Brea.
They solicited bids. Their RFP couldn’t describe the lemon they wanted, so they got handed apples and oranges instead. They crunched numbers. They argued for months, strung out between political issues and personal agendas.
The people waded in, as did the unions and other special interest groups. It got nasty… really nasty.
Finally, on April 24th, after months of bickering and infighting, hours of heated public comment… sometime just before dawn, they came to a conclusion. The law enforcement contract that had been with Brea for 42 years would be given to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
And, exhausted, everyone went home.
Mayor Lindsey reopens the can of worms.
Unsatisfied that the right decision was made the first time and tempted by the possibility that a few more bucks might be saved, Yorba linda’s new Mayor reopened the can of worms and the whole ugly process started over.
Deja vu all over again.
In addition to revisiting the apples and oranges problem, they wrestled with the differences between what was legal and what was ethical. One big issue, OCSD’s alleged premature conscription of over 20 Brea cops, severely crippling the agency they were to replace.
Another issue, law suits.
Speculation, in both Yorba Linda and Brea ran rampant. Truth be told, no one really knew where a suit might emerge, against whom, for what and what the damages sought might be (Brea’s final offer from very lame duck Mayor Schweitzer promised to cover all of Yorba Linda’s damages from any suit by the county should they choose to reinstate Brea’s contract).
Finally… another final decision.
12/4 – Once again the people were heard, the hour got late, the meeting adjourned without conclusion and was reconvened last night, 12/18. More blah, blah, blah and yadda, yadda, yadda.
At last cooler heads prevailed and Yorba Linda decided the divorce was final, O’Donnell limped away, beaten at his own game again.
Where do we go from here?
Clearly Yorba Linda is now fully Yorba Linda’s problem. Like I said, they made their bed, they can lie in it. My lingering concern, and the concern of most Breans, is how will Brea pick up the pieces and rebuild a police department around a new Brea only model?
The Chief responds.
I contacted Chief Conklin, expressing our concerns, to which he replied, “It is a bit early to comment on the status of the police department, however, following the April 24th decision by the Yorba Linda City Council to change providers my command staff, other city staff and I spent many long hours in meetings over several months and developed a plan for a new Brea “specific” Police Department. I’m confident it will not only maintain, but will enhance law enforcement service to the City of Brea.”
Some final key points.
- The 28+ sworn officers leaving the department in recent months have no impact on building the “Brea Only” department. They worked in Yorba Linda. Other than those who’ve retired, the balance are either employed by the OCSD or another jurisdiction.
- Detectives and motor officers pulling extra duty and being paid overtime will be a thing of the past the moment we hand the keys over to OCSD. That’s a savings of roughly $35K per pay period.
- Brea’s “in town” force, for several years, hovered around 60 sworn officers. There are currently 62 sworn officers on duty. There are neither hirings or layoffs in the future for Brea PD. Brea is fully staffed and without vacancies.
- There is bound to be some increase in the police budget post the Yorba Linda contract, but the full extent is still uncertain. The hope would be that whatever incremental cost increase the “new” Brea PD requires it will be within the realm of affordability, allowing Brea to live within it’s means..
- Brea, Fullerton, La Habra, and Buena Park are studying the possibilities of regionalization. The study is examining everything from a full consolidation to simply the sharing of specific police services. The city of Placentia is also involved, but their interest is limited to studying the creation of a regional dispatch/communication center.
What’s the bottom line?
Brea will get past this. The police department will emerge from the fracas with Yorba Linda virtually unscathed and Breans can sleep well at night. The city may have to do a little belt tightening to make things work, but this isn’t turning out to be the fiscal catastrophe of Mayan proportions many thought would occur.
And the city manager will need to do a lot of soul searching if he wants to hang on to the plum position he now enjoys. It won’t take too many more episodes like the OCFA and OCSD affairs, the tax payor funded vacation to South Korea and Japan with Schweitzer and Murdock or his ostensible disregard for sound business practices before rising public outcry will be asking Council to seek other options besides the continued reign of Tim O’Donnell.
(May 19, 2013) – With public interest and discussions ramping up on budget issues, notably Brea’s unfunded pension liabilities and appropriate disposition of the 560 fund, there is a growing case for taking a hard look at what happened here. Is the loss of the Yorba Linda contract symptomatic of the fiscal mismanagement that leads to terminations? A pattern of arrogant and presumptive behavior, not beneficial to the community at all, would be grounds for termination as far as I’m concerned.