Costa Mesa pink slips entire fire department

March 24, 2011

As part of a plan to solve a looming pension crisis and budget gap by outsourcing services, Costa Mesa officials handed pink slips to their entire fire department. [NewYorkTimes]

Almost half of the city’s workers were told late last week that, come September, they would probably be out of a job. Disbanded departments include fire, maintenance and street cleaning.

Private ambulance companies will respond to medical emergencies and fire calls will be routed to the Orange County Fire Department.

Pink slips went out to more than 200 of the city’s roughly 450 workers sending many into a panic. After receiving a summons to come pick up his letter, one city worker climbed five stories to the roof of the city hall building and jumped to his death.

The City Council moved quickly to approve the outsourcing and layoff plans as a way to solve a budget gap of as much as $15 million next year and deal with pensions that grow exponentially each year, eating away at the city’s $93 million budget.

“We see the train wreck coming and the only questions are how bad it will be and how quickly we want to try to stop it,” said City Councilman Jim Righeimer, who has led the push for outsourcing and has battled with public employee unions for years to the New York Times. “We have to stop blaming other people and start to solve these problems ourselves. These are hardworking people, but we know we cannot afford to keep paying what we have been.”

City officials expect to cut anywhere from 15 to 40 percent in labor costs.


Let’s see just how fast these highly trained “professional firefighters” get snapped-up by neighboring communities. They claim to be highly-trained professionals in great demand which justifies their bloated compensation. If they immediately get snapped-up by other agencies, that would lend credence to their claims. If they do not, that would further suggest they were not worthy of their former compensation.


Regardless of their skills or worth I think every county/city in California is under massive budge deficits and cutting back. I cannot recall a time when their was more need for qualified bodies that qualified bodies to be had, its supply and demand and the market just got flooded. I for one do not care to see a person lose their way of supporting their family, however in many cases their unions are compensating them out of their jobs, its a case of bend a little or lose a lot and unfortunately for these folks its to late to bend.



They don’t “claim to be highly-trained professionals”. They are highly trained professionals, whether you like it or not.


Booty JuJu

The unions well worn play book of claiming to champion the “middle class” and multi-pronged evasive arguments of redirection towards “fat cats” etc. is officially DOA. Even die hard, card carrying dues payers admit that they “took too much”, i.e. got piggy and greedy with taxpayer dollars. They still cling to the hope that minor roll backs will placate the public for another year or two, anything to buy time. They know full well the math doesn’t work, they’ve known it for years, but every year towards full financial melt down for the state/taxpayers is another year of feeding at the trough for public employees.

Delay, stall, evade, deny and attack are all they have left and will be used to continue to bleed the public.


Although it’s a very weak analogy, this sort of reminds me of the actions of Jack Welch at GE. He realized that GE couldn’t be in all businesses and he closed or sold many GE operations and there were substantial lay-offs. Welch took a huge amount of heat for his actions. At the same time, the Big 3 kept plodding right along knowing full well (even in the latter 1970’s/early 1980’s) that pension liabilities were sure to kill them no matter how well they did in the market — which obviously wasn’t all that good.

Fast forward about 30 years and GE is still thriving and its future looks strong. GM on the other hand actually failed. It took the gov’t to essentially give a huge chunk of GM to its employees in lieu of $$$ to keep it going. GM still layed-off over 500K (500K!) employees in North American — far, far more than GE every did. Now GM’s future still looks questionable at best.

The Costa Mesa City Council did something gravely difficult that harshly impacts some of the city’s former employees. I do think it was the most honest thing they could do given the fact they are allocating taxpayer dollars and doing what they can to protect the financial future of their city.


The unions have to go to bat for the government unions, private card holding union workers are gone. They have lost there base because of the same promises and explosions they are now making to government works. Their time too shell past and the unions which were great in their time wil be gone. Shame on them for their own demise. Greed is a terrible sin!


Interesting how we’ve gone from lets do anything for our fire fighting hero’s, to go ahead and jump you overpaid unionized government worker.


Bravo, Costa Mesa


Kudos to Costa Mesa for this brazen action. Hopefully, we will see more of this kind of thing sweep across the state, if not the nation.


I hope someone keeps a close on on the headcount of the Orange County Fire Department. If it doesn’t go up appreciably due to this action, it’s further proof the city’s taxpayers where getting screwed. I do wonder though — while this helps greatly with the coming train wreck in the City of Costa Mesa, the pay/benefits of OC firefighters must be just as bloated, no? Who is going to deal with THAT train wreck when it happens?

It took a lot of cajones for Costa Mesa to do this. It will benefit their taxpayers. Other cities are sure to follow. THEN there will be gov’t intervention (political/union) that will prohibit other cities in CA from following suit.


Wow! Jumped off the city building to his death for getting a pink slip. Very sad, but he should have been on meds. Can you imagine if everyone who has gotten a pink slip in the past 4 years committed suicide? Talk about population control.


It would certainly help the pension crisis.

I know! Let’s Pink Slip our politicians and see how that goes!


Lol. Politicians. Now that’s funny!!!


Hmmm…..let me see, what kind of job would I rather have?

1. Union job & then no job?

2. Non-union job & keep working?

I like to eat, so I think #2 sounds better.

Mr. Holly

HooRay for Mr. Righeimer. This gentleman should become a consultant for labor negotiations.

It’s about time that someone has stood up to the unions.


Um, I believe it is “Costa” Mesa not “Cost” Mesa. It is a little surprising that typo made it all the way to the main headline…


Freudian slip?

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