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Transparency

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NEWS
By Brittany Woolsey | September 3, 2012
The Costa Mesa City Council on Tuesday will take a second look at an ordinance that could make sections of negotiations between employee associations and management available to the public. Under the proposed Civic Openness in Negotiations (COIN) ordinance, residents could hear about and give input on offers and counter-offers for changes in wages and hours, among other things, during contract negotiations between the city and its employee groups, such as police and firefighters and non-safety personnel.
NEWS
August 20, 2011
Plenty has gone wrong in Costa Mesa politics this year, so it's nice when we have a chance to call attention to something that's going right. City Hall has made great strides in making public information, such as employee salaries, more readily available to anyone who wants to view it. And, from what we've been told, even greater transparency as it relates to public contracts is on its way. This is how it should be. Public information belongs to...
NEWS
June 21, 2013
The Costa Mesa Sanitary District announced this week that it has received a special certificate for its transparency efforts. The award came from the Special District Leadership Foundation, a Sacramento-based, independent nonprofit that was formed "to promote good governance and best practices among California's special districts," according to a sanitary district news release. The local agency is the eighth special district in California, and the only in Orange County, to receive the award.
NEWS
September 16, 2013
The Mesa Water District has received an award that recognizes its transparency efforts, according to a news release. Mesa Water demonstrated the eight requirements needed for recognition from the Special District Leadership Foundation, a Sacramento-based nonprofit that promotes "good governance" among California's special districts. The requirements include ethics training for all board members, properly partaking in open and public meetings, and the timely filing of financial transactions and compensation reports, according to a Mesa Water release.
NEWS
February 21, 2011
Long-serving Newport-Mesa Unified School District Trustees Dana Black and Martha Fluor state that the school district has become more transparent during the past 20 years, trying to learn and improve in terms of parent/community involvement, and they point to the parents' budget advisory committee and audit committees as progress. If this is true, why then did Black, Fluor and their fellow board members at the time summarily "shelve" the several recommendations of the well-publicized NMUSD Community Involvement Task Force, made up of citizens and district parents?
NEWS
By Greg Ridge and By Greg Ridge | September 7, 2012
The Costa Mesa City Council proved to me once again why they can't be trusted. Faced with an opportunity Tuesday night to adopt meaningful reforms that would shine a light on how lobbyists, private contractors and labor unions alike can influence politicians on the council, they chose to advance their own political agenda instead, leaving residents in the dark. It's time we took transparency to a real level. Once again, the council rejected reforms that would result in true transparency.
NEWS
By Steve Mensinger | November 16, 2013
"We must be aware of needless innovation, especially when guided by logic. " — Winston Churchill It's heartening for taxpayers that transparency in public employee labor negotiations is starting to spread across Orange County and even the state. For far too long, labor contracts — by far the biggest expense in any government agency's budget — were hammered out behind closed doors, with savvy union negotiators outwitting untrained local government staff members. Typically, the public had only a few days to digest a complicated contract that had been negotiated in the dark.
NEWS
By Joseph Serna | June 23, 2012
Costa Mesa's website offers more information about employee compensation than just about any other city in the county, according to a recent Orange County Grand Jury report on cities' online transparency. Costa Mesa joined four other Orange County cities - Buena Park, Laguna Woods, Placentia and Yorba Linda - on the grand jury's Gold Honor Roll, earning "A" grades in three categories: accessibility, transparency for city workers and executive compensation. "Clearly, government at all levels needs to make better decisions," said city CEO Tom Hatch in an email.
NEWS
By Sarah Peters, sarah.peters@latimes.com | November 6, 2010
IRVINE — The City Council's new kid on the block, Jeffrey Lalloway, said he plans to advocate for government transparency and cost cutting. "I want to see good, accountable, transparent government, and if the majority believes in the same things I do, then I'm happy to support them," Lalloway said. "If they fail to deliver on those goals, then I will oppose them in every way I can. " At the top of that list is a more open process regarding the Great Park, he said. Lalloway in October had criticized an audit of a $10-million contact between the Great Park Corp.
NEWS
By Joseph Serna | August 22, 2012
An ordinance that would open for public review many aspects of negotiations between Costa Mesa employee groups and city management will come back to the City Council for further review. Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer said the proposal needed more detail before going forward. The Civic Openness in Negotiations, or "COIN," ordinance would require the city to lay out the costs of current employee contracts by provision and hire an independent negotiator. It would also require the council to tell the public of each side's offers and counter-offers, presumably allowing residents to give input on proposals.
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NEWS
By Jill Cowan | May 1, 2014
Costa Mesa's Civic Openness in Negotiations, or COIN, ordinance could soon be tested on a bigger stage, Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach said Tuesday. Near the end of this week's board of supervisors meeting, he told colleagues that he hopes to bring a modified version of the law - which aims to increase transparency in what have become reliably fractious public employee contract negotiations - before the full panel in late May. "We're busy putting it together, working with county counsel," he said by phone Wednesday.
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NEWS
February 28, 2014
While law enforcement authorities are considering the finances of Costa Mesa's 60th anniversary celebration (the city's report on the matter was handed over to the district attorney for review), the public is getting an object lesson in the perils of outsourcing city functions. The records related to services performed by city employees are accessible to the public under the California Public Records Act. But as Councilwoman Sandy Genis has pointed out, when city functions are outsourced to private entities, the contractors' records may not be subject to public disclosure.
NEWS
By Steve Mensinger | November 16, 2013
"We must be aware of needless innovation, especially when guided by logic. " — Winston Churchill It's heartening for taxpayers that transparency in public employee labor negotiations is starting to spread across Orange County and even the state. For far too long, labor contracts — by far the biggest expense in any government agency's budget — were hammered out behind closed doors, with savvy union negotiators outwitting untrained local government staff members. Typically, the public had only a few days to digest a complicated contract that had been negotiated in the dark.
NEWS
By Bradley Zint | October 24, 2013
The Orange County Fair Board voted Thursday to waive the attorney-client privilege it had with the state attorney general's office, a move that's expected to aid investigators reexamining the failed sale of the fairgrounds property. Six of nine board members voted in favor of the motion, with Joyce Tucker and Kristina Dodge recusing themselves and Dave Ellis absent. Tucker and Dodge were on the Fair Board during the attempt to sell the 150-acre property in Costa Mesa, which began in 2009 as part of a statewide effort by then-Gov.
NEWS
September 16, 2013
The Mesa Water District has received an award that recognizes its transparency efforts, according to a news release. Mesa Water demonstrated the eight requirements needed for recognition from the Special District Leadership Foundation, a Sacramento-based nonprofit that promotes "good governance" among California's special districts. The requirements include ethics training for all board members, properly partaking in open and public meetings, and the timely filing of financial transactions and compensation reports, according to a Mesa Water release.
NEWS
By Bradley Zint | August 6, 2013
The Costa Mesa City Employees Assn., which represents 200 city employees, launched a website Tuesday that aims to provide its perspective on recently launched contract negotiations at City Hall. Promising "common sense," CostaMesaWorks.com plans to offer regular updates during what are expected to be contentious negotiations with the city. "As we enter into contract negotiations this year, we also reaffirm our commitment to transparency and accountability in all we do," CMCEA President Helen Nenadal said in a prepared statement.
NEWS
June 21, 2013
The Costa Mesa Sanitary District announced this week that it has received a special certificate for its transparency efforts. The award came from the Special District Leadership Foundation, a Sacramento-based, independent nonprofit that was formed "to promote good governance and best practices among California's special districts," according to a sanitary district news release. The local agency is the eighth special district in California, and the only in Orange County, to receive the award.
NEWS
By Jill Cowan | March 29, 2013
In a closed session before its meeting Tuesday evening, the Costa Mesa City Council will continue working toward a starting point in the first set of contract negotiations to take place since the passage of the city's new transparency ordinance. The current contract for general employees who are not public safety workers will expire Sunday . Depending on how closed-session discussions go, the council may publicly disclose some aspects of negotiations, per the process laid out in the Civic Openness in Negotiations, or COIN, ordinance, said Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger.
NEWS
March 13, 2013
For the second consecutive year, Costa Mesa received an award from a national nonprofit that grades government transparency. The city received one of 250 Sunny Awards from the Sunshine Review, which analyzed 7,000 agencies nationwide, according to a city news release. The fourth annual award is based on a 10-point checklist that includes information available online, such as meetings, budgets, records and taxes, according to the release. "The Sunny Awards recognize governments that make transparency a priority," Michael Barnhart, president of the Chesterfield, Va.-based Sunshine Review, said in a prepared statement.
NEWS
By Bradley Zint | February 28, 2013
A report condemning the failed sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds will go to the district attorney's office for legal review. The Fair Board unanimously voted Thursday to send the D.A. the Fair Sale Review Committee's 17-page report, which questioned contracts related to the 2010 proposal to sell and potentially privatize the 150-acre property. The independent committee's report, released last month, had nine principal recommendations that included calling for an audit, more review of the failed transaction, more transparency measures overall and never again undertaking action that would cause the state attorney general to stop representing the state-owned fairgrounds.
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