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Commentary: Position on police departures isn't logical

March 24, 2014|By Mary Ann O'Connell

I recently read Tim Sesler's commentary, "Generous Pensions Drive CMPD Retirements" (March 17), and found it to be incomplete, inaccurate and reliant on flawed logic.

Sesler posits that the flood of retirements is a lucrative financial scheme for the officers. If that is a valid assertion, then why didn't the flood start before the mayor's policies, verbal attacks and revealing of all compensation, even though the retirement plan was already in place? And why haven't we heard of high retirement rates in surrounding cities with similar retirement plans?

If these retirements are happening only because it is a contract year, why have the officers been leaving in the interim years? Wouldn't they have waited until now to retire to make a political statement?

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Sesler cites former Councilwoman Katrina Foley and implies that she was the one responsible for the current pay-and-benefit packages, but fails to note that in 2010 Councilman Gary Monahan voted for these too.

Sesler seems to call out the members of the Costa Mesa Police Department for actions alleged in the mayor and mayor pro tem's lawsuit, though the plaintiffs themselves have repeatedly stated that they have no issue and are not suing the members of the CMPD, but rather the Costa Mesa Police Assn.

He credits this mayor with resurfacing the roads and other capital improvement projects, though some of those projects (such as the Mesa Verde pothole project) were created and funded in advance of his election.

Sesler complains that the police association is using legal means to protect its members from testifying, however, as an officer of the court, Mr. Sesler should know that it is the plaintiffs' responsibility to prove their case and not the defendants' responsibility to help.

This could be viewed as a campaign-year smear piece timed for the start of negotiations. The mayor and mayor pro tem are recused from the negotiations with the police association because their lawsuit created the possibility of a conflict of interest.

MARY ANN O'CONNELL lives in Costa Mesa and is a member of the city Charter Committee.

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