“Newspeak” comes to the Escondido City Council

 

In its excellent editorial, the Los Angeles Times has pointed out the Orwellian trend of the Trump Administration, http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-trump-climate-change-national-security-cdc-20171219-story.html. The editorial points out that this administration’s view is that it is the “anti-growth” policies to restrain global-warming that pose a threat to the U.S. security rather than global-warming itself as a threat.

Tonight, City Manager Jeff Epp, and Mayor Sam Abed also got a little Orwellian in their response to Councilwoman Olga Diaz’s question about Item 10 on the Consent Calendar: COMMUNITY SEVICES BUDGET AMENDMENT: Request the City Council approve modifying the General Fund Budget to delete the position of Director of Library and Community Services and add the position of Director of Communications and Community Services. She said she was unwilling to approve the creation of a new position that did not specify what salary would be allotted to that position. She was unwilling to sign what was basically a blank check. She pointed out that the salary for that position would obviously decrease the amount ($400K) of saving the outsourcing of the library was supposed to give the city. She moved to continue the vote on the matter until further information was made available to the council. Unsurprisingly, none of her colleagues seconded her motion.

Abed proceeded to mansplain to Diaz that it was up to the City Manager to determine the salary for city employees, the council only approved the brackets for employees’ salaries. In fact, he avowed, it was against the law for the council to interfere in such matters.

Diaz countered that Epp did need approval for the creation of a new position in the city. She noted that the city had already hired another assistant city manager, a move that seemed to counter Abed’s insistence that the city needed to cut costs to fend off the looming crisis of the unfunded CalPERS’ liability.

Abed insisted the Council couldn’t interfere with the city manager’s handling of personnel.

Councilman Mike Morasco asked Epp how the city was saving money if they had to hire another person after outsourcing the library.

Epp, obviously annoyed, patronizingly explained that money this position would come out of the general fund. If Diaz’s argument was valid, than any expense that the city added that came from the general fund would deduct from the savings of outsourcing the library. And, the salary for the position would be lower than the former position (Director of Library and Community Services.) He assured the council that the next budget would clearly indicate the $400K savings to the city.

Morasco concluded that it was Epp’s role to manage the city staff.

The item was approved with “three yes votes, Diaz voting no.”

So, Epp noted that the new position might have a lower salary than the previous Director of Library and Community Services, but he ignored the fact that the salary for the previous position was part of the calculation for the savings of the library. I’m sure that Epp will be nimble enough in his bookkeeping to wiggle the data to support his thesis of the $400K savings. Epp seems very fluent in “Newspeak”.

 

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