sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Public Employee Union Fights Back

Today, the California Supreme Court (each member of which had been appointed by a Republican Governor) unanimously turned down the County of Orange's appeal on a lawsuit regarding the Deputy Sheriff Pension Issue. COUNTY OF ORANGE v. ASSOCIATION OF ORANGE COUNTY DEPUTY SHERIFFS et al., Case #S191218

I know that a lot of the blog readers who browse this page consider public employees greedy and their unions to be an extension of that greed. In this case, the County has been working diligently for the past three years to strip retired police officers of 1/3 of their pensions.  They worked, they retired, in some cases many years prior. In some cases the officers since died and their widows/widowers are living on a fraction of that pension. The County, which negotiated the pension amounts years before, felt as if the Deputies received a better deal in the negotiation than they should have been entitled to.  So, 10+ years later they want to strip it from them.

The case brought by the County of Orange had been unanimously tossed out of trial, and appellate courts has now been decided by the Supreme Court and the only court that the County can appeal it to now it the US Supreme Court. The third unanimous decision against the County ends the $2.5 million dollar campaign made by (whacko bomb thrower) County Supervisor John Moorlach and his legal advisors. This vindictive campaign may end up costing the taxpayers of Orange County over $5 million.

Before the County of Orange filed their controversial and frivolous lawsuit in February 2008, three different outside law firms they had hired for legal counsel, warned them they could not win such a case. They were thrown out of Superior Court twice in 2009 without even a trial and unanimously thrown out of Appellate Court on a 3 – 0 vote this last January. 

All six of the State Supreme Court justices (there is presently one vacancy) ruled unanimously. They had 90 days to decide whether to take the case up and formally review the Appellate Court’s decision. They came to a quick, unanimous decision in only 6 working days. 
“The Deputy Sheriffs Association now plans to file in court for complete payment of our four years worth of attorneys fees for this frivolous, mean spirited lawsuit. By the time everything is over, the vindictive political judgment of John Moorlach and Mario Mainero will have cost the County a tremendous amount of time and money. It is both sad and unfortunate -- and a textbook example of abuse of our legal system.”
Everyone negotiates for pay and benefits. Taking on the retired for what retroactively looks as if it was too good for the workers is not right in any context. The Deputy Sheriffs didn't steal anything or take advantage of anything. They gave up pay in lieu of pension benefits and the County went along with it. Some conservative Republicans, eager to find a scape goat and I'm not going to officially name names (Chuck), find the current wave of public resentment toward the retired is a good place to jump on the band wagon. Unfortunately, the appellate court (three Republicans sit on that court) and the supreme court (six Republicans sit on that court) didn't agree.