Letter writer: Antioch Council members who voted for employee contracts lied, should look for new jobs

Dear Editor:

It seems some in Antioch are misinformed. I understand the budget woes of the city are considered a long-standing history of mismanagement, inappropriate side deals and cozy dealings with others which have placed the city in the financial stress it is in presently. I remember a City Council meeting in November where the sitting city council approved a nearly $2 million per-year budget increase (total of $9.2 million over the complete contract term). I further remember in January with those recently elected to the council abstaining, the increases were voted into place. There was pleading to please reconsider this increase and what it will do to the city but the measure still moved forward as the contracts were already negotiated.

At the November meeting, then Mayor Wade Harper and others praised the city workers for their patience. At the January meeting, the same information was provided by Lori Ororchock and Tony Tiscareno singing city workers praises. They acted like limited raises and the furlough day was such a burden for these individuals to suffer through. I am not sure how many of you have seen a recent raise, but in the real world raises are limited and based on performance.

Let’s see who voted for this salary increase in November: Mayor Wade Harper, Mary Rocha, Lori Ororchock, Tony Tiscareno and Monica Wilson. Isn’t it funny, the very people who were telling Antioch residents how much they loved and cared for this city and want it to succeed were behind the scenes selling the city into bankruptcy?

I believe the January vote with the newly elected city council members abstaining was perfunctory at best. The contracts were already negotiated and the deals/agreements made. If you would like to check out the archived news article on this (an interesting read) it can be found at: http://antiochherald.com/2017/01/p26117/

The new leadership elected to the City Council was a vote for change. I hope the incumbents recognize this fact. However, change is difficult when the former Council sells the city in bankruptcy before newly elected council members can take office. All of these council members should be looking for a new job in the future, because now your words and actions do not align. You lied to the people of Antioch and hopefully Antioch residents will show you how they feel at the ballot box.

I can only hope the newly elected leadership will roll up their sleeves and actually get the work done because it is evident; those who were in office (including Lori Ororchock, Tony Tiscareno and Monica Wilson) have no intention of fixing this city or making it easy on those who want to fix the city. I am wondering why these individuals remain in office.

Louis Renner

Antioch

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26 Comments to “Letter writer: Antioch Council members who voted for employee contracts lied, should look for new jobs”

  1. Marty Fernandez says:

    Mr. Renner: Sorry you couldn’t attend the last three budget meetings. The council in general, all 5, have sold us out and increased spending in huge amounts. Mayor Wright has a new out look on bankruptcy that is for sure. Mr. Tiscareno thinks everything will work out and we can bluff our way out of this. Ms. Wilson says little, Mr. Thorpe has changed his tune and Mrs. Ogorchock is still wearing Mayor Wrights rose colored glasses.

    They all think Measure C will be extended “because the taxpayers don’t notice it anymore and will vote to extend it”. I am here to say DO NOT extend Measure C so these irresponsible people can continue to piss away our money. There is a big committee working towards NO on Measure C and we will be moving forward.

  2. Gil Murillo says:

    The new agreements also include pay spikes which is another blunder that the previous administration allowed.

    The City needs to develop an overall plan to truly define how the City will be solvent. City Council is hoping that Measure C will be indefinite which is going to be a hard sell in the end if the City does not develop a plan on how other revenue sources are going to be developed because taxes alone will not solve the problem. We have almost 200 million in unfunded liabilities which is not addressed and cannot be solved with Measure C.

    It is time for the City Council to enact on developing a strategic economic plan that truly sets fiscal goals and accountability.

    Best,

    Gil Murillo

  3. HJ says:

    Thank you for speaking for the most of us good working people of Antioch. I think we all, those who care and are vested in this good city – do not want to see it crumble to the ground. I am sure holding city office isn’t easy, but it’s just not fair that the city isn’t improving how it should/promised. I am curious to see the efforts for No on Measure C. As far as looking for a new job, only Ms. Ogorchock and Mr. Tiscareno are up for re-election this 2018 – Wilson is in office until 2020 along with our Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem

  4. me says:

    Ironic how the only employee group/deal that’s going to bankrupt the city is the one you all cry about needing the most.

  5. Marty Fernandez says:

    Sorry “me” but it is all the recently negotiated contracts that will be responsible for bankrupting the city. No one I know of has singled out the APD or anyone else. It is the total package.

    If fact at last nights budget meeting Chief Brooks CUT his budget in order to help cut overtime. He is the only one trying I am aware of.

    • me says:

      That’s the problem Marty, no one is or has acknowledged it, but they need to. PD is, and always has been for at least the past 12 years, the most expensive of all employee contracts. The largest employee group, no furloughs, no layoffs, annual raises (sometimes 2), increased pay for certificates and longevity, 100% city-paid medical benefits, and out of control OT. In fact, of all the recently negotiated contracts, PD’s (once again) will cost the City more in increases than all other employee groups combined! Factor in that they have no steady, dedicated, revenue stream (not counting Measure C because not all of it is for PD). Given all that, why does the City allow themselves to get bled dry contract after contract yet crime is still at such an unacceptable level? And the number of officers isn’t increasing fast enough?

      It’s about time they dropped the 12 hour shift. Should’ve been done years ago. It’s unsustainable. The savings from the reduced OT costs alone will get a bunch more new officers. They’ve been told that for years but the former Chief and CMs, including Jakel during our hardest times, didn’t want to force the issue which was totally within his power to do. Maybe Brooks is a little more thrifty than his predecessor or maybe our new CM finally made a stand, or both, but thank the Lord it’s finally happening. I’m a little more pessimistic and believe APOA was told it needed to happen in order for the City to afford the raises they’ve been promised over the next 5 years of their recently negotiated contract. Watch where the savings goes and see if you get more bodies on the street or if it just fattens the wallets of those already here.

  6. Loretta Sweatt says:

    If the City didn’t go bankrupt in 2008 or 2009, I don’t think it’s going to go bankrupt now. We have a smart outstanding Mayor; he’ll figure it out. We have a highly respected Antioch seasoned City Manager that everybody approves of. He’ll get it done too. Measure C is here forever; now that we have it, we have to keep it. The City needs the money, it’s been a good money maker without a lot of pain. Whatever else needs to be done, I’m sure is an ongoing topic with options. We must support our Mayor and new city council members; other council members can be voted in or out if that is what people want. Quit bad mouthing Antioch, for the Love Of God, people love this city warts and all. Antioch gets a bad rap every time and once crime is nonexistent and downtown is a booming tourist attraction, everyone will be singing praises. Be grateful that we’ve come this far and didn’t stay stuck in 2008, 2009 forever.

    • Marty Fernandez says:

      Ms Sweatt, I have lived here 50 years, raised kids and grandkids. Worked very hard in many ways to help this city. I love this city or I would have been gone a long time ago. So, making constructive criticism of a city council that is out of whack is appropriate. Few listen to what anyone says and nearly all of them say they would not read this paper but I know they do. I spent over 12 years, recent years, going to every darn council meeting held. I still go but not to every one. Listening is not something that comes with the territory it is a learned response 3 council members have never heard of.

      Just a note: Does anyone realize APD has it in their contract they have to be the second highest paid police group in the county? It needs to be tossed out as it has gone on long enough.

      • me says:

        My God Marty, it’s been like that for 12+ years. Go back and look at previous contracts. That’s how they sometimes got 2 raises in one year (one COLA/reg raise and another to be the 2nd highest paid in County). It’s the #1 reason why we’re in this mess and needed Measure C and to a lesser degree Measure O. What kind of shape do you think we’d be if those weren’t passed? They continued to get astronomical raises while others got layoffs and furloughs. Ponder this one…instead of forgoing their raises at the beginning of the downturn, they sacrificed their CSOs! Which is why it wouldn’t surprise me that this work shift change is all about preserving their money throughout the life of the contract. You don’t mess with PD’s money cuz they’re willing to sacrifice anyone and everyone else first.

        • Marty Fernandez says:

          Me, I agree with all you say. I have talked with council members and mayors over the years and they all act dumb when I tell them about being the second highest paid. They litterly go Huh?

          I agree the officers protect their pay and do not want CSO’s. That blood bath for the CSO’s was the dumbest thing. But money was their reason. Protect yourself at all cost.

    • Michael Farias says:

      Why the emphasis on downtown…?, SE is where the new development is/will continue to happen. Antioch will not become a “tourist” attraction anytime soon. It’s a decent place for low cost commercial development if it can fix the fatal error of being way too lenient on Section 8 and creating crime hot-zones like Deer Valley. Far too many towns fall into this trap of ‘revitalizing’ downtown’

  7. Renee Sparks says:

    I don’t know where Loretta Sweatt is living but she obviously hasn’t walked by herself downtown or down Sycamore Drive where even the APD will tell you not to go down. Also Measure C is not here forever. We citizens were promised 22 new officers and we got 11. I will only support it if we get what has been promised.
    22 more officers on the streets, less crime, less blight and none of that has happened. Antioch is just as unsafe as it was and the boarded up houses are still here. I have a homeless encampment down my block and I’ve seen no changes since Measure C was approved.
    I agree with Mr. Renner and the other people posting the comments, Except, Ms. Sweatt.
    I’m all for building up our APD. I believe if we do that before anything else and can become proactive against crime instead of just settling for a police force that has longer than 5 minutes response time and no time for anything but putting out “fires” than our city can than become a welcoming city.
    I had company come from out of town and my house was full, I had to put them up in a hotel in Brentwood because no hotel in Antioch was safe. How horrible is that? That was this past weekend!!
    The It is so sad that I live in a city that I can’t even recommend a hotel to my guests, but the City Council wants me to extend Measure C when it hasn’t done what was promised. I don’t understand.
    I respect all police officers. I don’t respect the politics of why we can’t get it together in Antioch.
    Can’t we model our selves after the Walnut Creek PD or Brentwood PD? They have officers and are clean , low crime and welcoming

    • Just a thought says:

      That’s so true!! I couldn’t come up with one – they are all havens for crime. It is so awful. The cops target the commuters going to work for traffic infractions, yet on my way home at night, I can’t get through the Lone Tree/A Street off-ramp without hitting that panhandler that is allowed (every evening) to dance in the streets. He can’t bring any cash to Antioch but the lowly, hardworking commuter can. I’m so sick of it. Try shopping at Safeway, the goods leave the store without being paid for. You can just watch them – it is so disheartening. I won’t shop there. Some woman was unloading her bra in her front seat and going back in for more. Just amazing. There were two guys going through my neighborhood, on bikes, this morning – looked like they just got let out of jail. I should have called but dealing with the snotty little dispatchers is all I can do – they don’t listen yet that is their job. Everything in this town is pitiful.

      • Michael Farias says:

        One area of concern re: traffic is basically right at the Antioch City Limit sign on Hwy 4. Hyper aggressive driving the likes of which I’ve never seen anywhere going 100MPH+. This happens every day as I commute from Concord. It’s like they know they are entering lawlessness. CHP needs to get on this, it’s a fatality waiting to happen.

  8. Just a thought says:

    Again, personal agendas and vested interest politics gets in the way of the real intention and work that needs to get done. What a shame.

  9. RJb says:

    There is no hope for ANY city that caters to criminals. It’s that simple.

    Welcome to the reality of good ‘ol Antioch.

  10. Marty Fernandez says:

    Me: You are right on the money. Several city departments have too much overtime but the new 10 hour shifts for APD will certainly help.

    • me says:

      Several?!? Which ones are those. Please list. I can only think of 3 and PD is alone at the top.

      • Marty Fernandez says:

        I don’t have the dollars in front of me but I believe it is PD, public works and then water. A work load study should be required of those 3 departments and others but those are the most important right now. I also firmly believe there is not enough supervision in all of the city. Most of these folks have been there so long everyone assumes they are doing their jobs. Follow a few around some time and you will see this isn’t always so.

        • Just a thought says:

          A productivity management engineer needs to go in and make a thorough study of hours, jobs, workload – who is needed and who is not. Need to run mean and lean like all of the other companies in the Bay Area. This is ludicrous.

          • me says:

            This city is now the 2nd largest in the County but has the least employees per capita in the entire state! Dept staffing never recovered to where it was 10+ years ago. I’ll admit PD isn’t where is should be but they’re the only ones continuously hiring and getting raises. This City is already lean and mean but some depts remain leaner than others.

  11. Loretta Sweatt says:

    Complain, complain, ok, Walnut Creek’s smallest homes, least location start at $600k and property taxes are lot more then they are here, so are the retail stores price tange, ok, that is not Antioch and Antioch is not at the same price point as Walnut Creek, that my dear is a ludicrous statement, good grief. Marty, all you do is tell people off and get angry about everything, and I’m sorry I just don’t agree with 50 years of yelling and complaining at the City Council. What exactly have you accomplished? You damage children’s self esteem when you city shame them, so shame on you. The cost of crime is astronomical and which one of you ever served on the council to try to change anything or became a police officer and wrote a blank check to the city including one human life? I’m sure the City Manager knows the correct pay range for police officers in this high crime city. I have every confidence in him. And I support the Mayor.

  12. Loretta Sweatt says:

    It’s one thing for someone to say “I feel the police salaries are out of proportion and ought to be reconsidered” and quite another to bash the city, bash the city council, etc. etc. etc. The City Manager will do what’s best for Antioch, from everything I’ve heard about him and the support for the Mayor, I’m sure the best decisions will be made.

    • Marty Fernandez says:

      Dear dear lady: I am 76 years old. You and my wife and I should do lunch. We will buy. Then you will know me and perhaps know what you are talking about. Leave a message with the editor here and we will get together. Perhaps he would join us too. Marty

      • Loretta Sweatt says:

        That’s very sweet of you to offer, but the Editor has a girlfriend and I’m married, lol, I am sure you have a lovely wife, give her my best regards. I’m relatively new to Antioch so I admit I don’t know much, and I don’t live downtown. I go by what I read here mostly and I’ve been to a few city council meetings and had a seat on the Econ Devel Comm for a year before resigning. I think I understand frustration and I am sorry if I offended you, you’re right I don’t know you or anything in depth. It’s probably better if I just keep my comments to myself and refrain from posting here, so I’ll do that instead of lunch.

  13. Marty Fernandez says:

    Don’t stop posting, we need people who pay attention.

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