Mitch Green States His Case

I overlooked the Simi Valley Acorn article regarding Mitch Green, Candidate for Simi Valley City Council, so I’d like to mention it this morning. I first met Mitch Green at the Simi Valley Sunrise Rotary Club several weeks ago and I immediately liked him. It’s tough to throw your hat in the ring for City Council when you’re surrounded by so many who have supported other candidates for so many years. I spoke briefly with Mitch about those challenges and his take on his candidacy. It’s never been about a desire to unseat one particular candidate for Mitch, but rather to make himself known as someone with a desire to offer new insight.

A snippet of the article from the Simi Valley Acorn…

It was a long shot that a poor kid from Oregon would grow up to be an attorney. It was unlikely that an 18-year-old private in the Army National Guard would one day command an Army helicopter company—and retire 27 years later as a major.

But he accomplished those things.

“You’re never going to know what you’re capable of unless you try it,” he said. “It’s easier to sit on the sidelines and criticize those who try to do something than it is to actually put on your suit and jump into the ring.”

Whether Mitch Green has earned your vote or not, one undisputed fact is that he’s run a super clean and honest campaign. You won’t find phony comments on his behalf on blogs and forums or catch him speaking negatively of other candidates. He is interested in playing a positive role in shaping our City’s future and will continue to hold that interest regardless of the November election results.

Read the entire Simi Valley Acorn article on Mitch Green by clicking here.

21 thoughts on “Mitch Green States His Case

  1. Thanks Bill. I’ll be leaving a batch of signs at the Simi Valley Democratic Club office that is opening today at 2904 Cochran Street. Feel free to come and get one. They look great in front yards.

    FYI, these are the most coveted signs currently on the market – extremely rare, locally designed and produced and environmentally coordinated in multiple shades of green. Your neighbors will know you are either an independent thinker, an insider of great knowledge, or a complete nut job once your lawn sports a Mitch Green Go Green yard sign.

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  2. A comment for Mr. Green:

    Here is a part of the interview:

    “For one thing, he said, contract negotiations with employee groups needs to be done “fairly, evenly and consistently,” with no one unit overly benefitting or another being underserved. “I recognize that public safety is paramount, but when your toilets don’t flush because the sanitation plant is shut down, that’s going to be pretty critical too. The public works employees are every bit as important to me (as the police officers).”

    While all City employees are to be treated with respect and provided fair and reasonable compensation package consistent with budgetary constraints, this does not mean that every employee group must necessarily be treated the “same” with the same raise or reduction in compensation. Mr. Green’s position on this seems to overlook the reality of the employee marketplace.

    While correct that the toilets have to flush, the roads need to be smooth and the traffic lights must work properly, when negotiating with the employee union, the proper question is the ultimate effect of that negotiation and the potential for added costs to the City.

    The most obvious is the cost of replacement of the employee. Replacing a public works employee is vastly cheaper and easier than replacing a police officer. Some can be replaced quickly at minimal cost. Others can be replaced only after losing effectiveness in the position and at great additional cost.

    The concept of treating all types of workers equally carries with it an appealing sense of “fairness”. And, the Police Officers Association must continue to appreciate the financial realities facing City Government by taking some of the compensation lumps. However, Mr. Green’s approach of treating all City workers of every stripe equally without regard to the potential cost to the City and citizens, through loss of effectiveness and cost of replacement, defies common sense rules of business management. The reality is that they are not the same and can not be painted with the same broad brush.

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  3. Tim,

    Thank you for your insightful comments. I always look forward to your contributions.

    You state, “The concept of treating all types of workers equally carries with it an appealing sense of “fairness,” and “Mr. Green’s approach of treating all City workers of every stripe equally without regard to the potential cost to the City and citizens, through loss of effectiveness and cost of replacement, defies common sense rules of business management.”

    Yet, even the Police Officer’s Association asks to be treated equally as other employees.

    See the following from the POA website, “The SVPOA believes the Police Officers should give the same financial concessions that other city employees have given.”

    http://www.svpoa.net/inthenews2.html

    You can’t have it both ways, now, can you? Either all employees are treated equally and fairly, or they are not.

    Thanks again,

    Mitch Green
    Candidate, Simi Valley City Council

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  4. Mitch:

    Thank you for the collegiality of your reply.

    Apparently the POA believes they were the ones who were not treated fairly. Trying not to segue off point, I have found from many years in business from start ups to the Fortune 50 that, “fair” and “equal” are not necessarily the same.

    Ultimately, the question is what works best for the goals/priorities of the City. We cannot assume that a deal worked with one group should be as rich or would be sufficient for another group of employees. I have been in companies where professional staff receive no raise, but administrative/clerical do. I have seen bonus programs grow for sales staff while sales management’s are suppressed. The driver was what was best for the company and the shareholders.

    The thrust of my post was that you can try to mete out the ups and downs equally, but that equality of treatment can be counter-productive.

    Imagine this scenario…Administrative staff are leaving with such frequency that hiring and training are taking an inordinate amount of time and harming productivity. Concurrently, the Police Department has outstanding retention because Simi Valley is currently paying higher than other agencies (remember…”imagine”). And, the City is flush with income due to a growing economy. Should we restrict adjusting administrative salary just because the Police are paid well? Would it be unequal and therefore unfair to give one group a 5% raise and the other less?

    Flexibility and creativity to meet priorities may not be possible if equality is the goal. Equality of treatment may be what is best, but we should be carefull to not make that the priority, in an of itself.

    Thanks again for the fair minded reply.

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  5. Tim,

    Not to be overly picky, but in legal terms your scenario is objectionable as an incomplete hypothetical which assumes facts not in evidence.

    Admin staff turnover is currently normal to below normal (there aren’t any jobs out there for most so why leave?); Simi pays on par with most local cities – not necessarily above or below; The City is hurting for cash due to reduced sales tax revenue, lower property tax revenue and the near end of large scale development; and the POA and SEIU (general unit) are locked into recent contracts which reduce their salaries and benefits for the next several years.

    Now, the damage has been done morale wise to the employees. Senior management (read the City Manager) took a harsh stand with the employees and told them this is the way its gonna be. And that was the extent of the negotiations. The POA thought the City was being harsh with them last year, hence the low morale in the police department. The SEIU (general unit) took it in the shorts this year to a similar extent as the POA last year And they ain’t happy campers either. And the management unit gets whatever bones are left over and they are told they better like it or feel free to seek greener pastures.

    So now that the blood is on the floor, its time to mop up, look forward and rebuild morale. Hopefully the worst of the current economic down turn is over and behind for the city. And if not, then program cutbacks and employee down sizing is next on the list. And if it comes to this, then taking a fair and equal approach with sensitivity to all the employees is only right.

    No one unit is overly benefitted; no one unit is overly penalized. We treat all employees equally and fairly and we start moving forward today.

    Mitch

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  6. Great discussion from both Tim and Mitch.

    Regarding the POA, some could argue that the Council’s biggest mistake was being too generous the past decade or so, increasing their pay and benefits 60 percent over that period. Then, the worst economy in 70 years struck, and one bad year is causing grief for the fine cake they baked the past decade.

    If there is one overarching theme from the comments on this website (well, before lots of the Astroturf comments were deleted), it is selfishness. We are in the worst economic climate, nationwide, in our lifetime. It is the worst we have ever seen, and that most of us will ever see. Yet we have public employees paid by taxpayers complaining about small reductions to their compensation packages, at the very same time so many residents are out of work. We have public employees complaining about “working conditions” who work in a state-of-the-art brand new police station, in a community chock full of residents who care to call in suspicious activity any time they see it, who try to volunteer in the citizens’ patrol, and who wholeheartedly support public safety.

    You have commenters on this website blaming the City for vacant stores, or blaming the City Council for shopping centers that don’t look the prettiest, when in fact the private sector is absolutely hurting and those who run shopping centers are doing the best they can to keep their centers looking good. Ultimately we have to ask, What precisely is the City’s role? Do we want the City coming in and telling us how our front lawn looks? Telling us what color our house needs to be, how trim our hedges should be? Yet commenters here complain about how run-down shopping centers look and blame the City for it.

    The bottom line is this City not only has a balanced budget, but a prudent reserve during the Recession of a Lifetime. Something has gone awfully right. Team players would pitch in and say, “How can I help so we all can get through this together?” Barry Bonds would say, “You all go ahead and do that. What’s in it for me?”

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  7. …..”Regarding the POA, some could argue that the Council’s biggest mistake was being too generous the past decade or so, increasing their pay and benefits 60 percent over that period…….”

    Ah, how soon they forget. I am glad someone remembers. Thank you

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  8. Mitch: I’m sorry you mis-read my comment and therefore missed the point. What I was offering was a made up hypothetical to underline a concept.

    If you become a member of the Council, you will have to deal with issues that are not possibly knowable. I was hoping to get your take on your approach to an issue, and by not responding, I can’t know how you would deal approach the situation.

    Perhaps another opportunity will come up, but right now I feel you ducked the question. Oh, and by the way, as to your objections…Overruled.

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  9. I meant you will have to deal with issues we cannot NOW know will become issues, and that because you failed to deal with the hypothetical, I can’t possibly know your approach to issues moving forward.

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  10. Perhaps you need to re read my response.

    And we do know the issues now, don’t we?

    Either the future is all rainbows and butterflies or we will have to deal the the same issues that other cities are doing right now.

    One city I work with just recently laid off 80 part time employees and is now laying off full time employees. That may well be the our future too.

    How would I deal with that? By treating all our employees equally, fairly and with sensitivity. And starting with eliminating redundant programs, shifting employees, continuing to vacate non-essential positions as turnover allows, doing everything to preserve employee jobs in the process.

    See the pattern? Still think I’m ducking out on my response?

    Beyond that, nobody knows what the future will bring, thus nobody knows what they will do when the future arrives. Asking me to reveal my clairvoyant skills seems unfair when you hold your own favorite challenger to mere mortal talents.

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  11. Mitch:

    After we spoke last night, I was surprised to see the posts above, and particularly surprised that you again declined to add any clarity to how you would approach certain issues.

    No, we can’t foretell what will happen moving forward, which is why I was particularly interested in understanding conceptually how you would approach a hypothetical situation, a hypothetical drawn to show that ‘equality’ of treatment is not always possible or even a goal.

    ‘Equality’ can mean different things to different people. It might mean that everyone…everyone…gets the same amount of pay; or that everyone who has worked with the city gets the same amount of time gets the same pay; or that everyone at the same level gets the same pay.

    What I was asking you to define is whether you believe that every employee in the city should get exactly the same percent raise when it comes to negotiating rate of pay. I offered you a hypothetical that showed how differences in increases in compensation may be required.

    Through your replies, I do not now know more than what I did at the very beginning. Still, I appreciate your effort. If is it me that is not understanding, then at least other had the chance to read your replies as well. Best of luck to you in your campaign.

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  12. Tim says,

    “What I was asking you to define is whether you believe that every employee in the city should get exactly the same percent raise when it comes to negotiating rate of pay.”

    Yes. I have no problem with this concept. And having seen favored units being given everything they ask for and other units taking it in the shorts, its about time.

    Now, I’ve answered your inquiries three times from three different angles. If you don’t get it, that’s cool, perhaps you don’t want to get it.

    Now, would you like to comment on anything else I’ve stated in the article?

    Like “No on the current dump expansion plans?”

    Or “No on Special Appointments?”

    Or how about “Yes on Term Limits, 3 terms for Council Members, 3 terms for Mayor.”

    Or even, “Time to re-evaluate Senior City Management (read City Manager).”

    Do you have anything to comment on these issues? Or are we done here?

    Mitch

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  13. Mitch: One of the problems with the written word is the lack of inflection and tone. For the sake of sharing information and ideas, I will continue to assume your comments were offered in good cheer.

    Yes, you have finally answered the question. However, your own reasoning disputes your position. If there are people who have “taken it in the shorts” so that others could “be given everything they asked for”, then shouldn’t it be your position that some ajustments are necessary? If so, the City cannot move forward issuing identical or “equal” changes in compensation. There are times when “equal” does not provide the best value or service to the City.

    As to the other issues, I tentatively agree with you on expansion of the dump. I am tentative in only that we have no proposal and we should all be prepared to evaluate a proposal based on what it is and facts available at the time.

    I am not for special appointments and have spoken against the same before the City Council as far back as when Mike Piper was appointed for two years. This is particularly true now as any appointment (should Sojka win) would mean 60% of the council would have first been seated not through election, but through appointment. I would support the Council approving the cost of a special election, and no, I would not be a candidate if that happened.

    I have taken no position on term limits. However, I do not see any reasoning to limit the Mayor to 6 years with the Council having 12.

    Yes, it is time to evaluate the City Manager, but it is ALWAYS time to evaluate the City Manager. I am sure he gets an annual evaluation. If he is not doing the job between evaluations, there is no need to wait till the end of the year. Your question reveals that you believe it is time to terminate the City Manager. I will stick to the first sentence in this paragraph as a standard.

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  14. In the aftermath of last night’s League of Women Voters candidate forum, I must express my complete surprise that Glen Becerra and I see eye to eye regarding the current dump expansion plans. He’s against it. And in no uncertain terms, either. That’s not to say that Waste Management can’t put together a deal that works for the City, either.

    With Glen and Barbra on board to make the landfill expansion work to the City’s best interests, just one more vote could land the deal. A vote for me makes it a majority in reining in the landfill.

    You get to cast two votes folks. I’m just asking for one of them.

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