Costa Mesa employees teach community safety at National Night Out

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City employees volunteered Aug. 6 at the National Night Out community event, which occurs annually across the nation to build bridges between residents and local law enforcement.

Members of the Costa Mesa City Employees Association helped put together the event, which included displays by Costa Mesa’s police and fire departments, a coloring contest and a demonstration of self-defense skills by local students of the Samurai Cop Self Defense Academy.

Costa Mesa Crime Prevention Specialist Kelly Vucinic, who celebrates 25 years with the City of Costa Mesa this year, said she enjoys coordinating the National Night Out event each year because of the community building that occurs.

“National Night Out is an important event to me because I enjoy teaching the community how to stay safe,” Vucinic said. “I look at it as an opportunity for the City and the community to work together.”

Pictured: Civilian Investigator Lily Martinez, Crime Prevention Specialist Kelly Vucinic and Crime Analyst Holly Carver

Retired CM Police Captain: “Community doesn’t need divisive leadership”

Retired Costa Mesa Police Captain Allen Huggins recently spoke out about how a politically motivated and adversarial approach to dealing with City employees can negatively impact the community.

His comments were published this week on the community blog, A Bubbling Cauldron, in response to an article about how politics are harming police officer recruitment that was published in the Daily Pilot (Update: The comments first appeared in the comments section of the Daily Pilot story). Here are just a few excerpts. Visit A Bubbling Cauldron to read his full comments.

“There is a significant issue with attracting quality personnel to the (Police) Department, and there has been shortly since the Righeimer and Mensinger were elected and appointed, respectfully. The Department has also been experiencing an exodus that is unprecedented. While there are a variety of reasons, it would be unreasonable to believe there isn’t a connection between the tenor the City Council has set, under the tutelage of the current majority, and the personnel difficulties the Police Department has been and is facing.”

Captain Huggins went on to write that “the economic environment dictates that all expenditures be reviewed, including salary and benefit packages. What isn’t necessary is the rhetoric the City Council majority likes to inject into discussions.” 

The City’s rank and file employees agree that there is a much better way to work collaboratively to improve efficiency, reduce costs and deliver the best services in Orange County. Our proposals, in contrast to the City Council majority’s attempt to completely destroy the years of consensus that are represented in the current contract, will reflect that common-sense approach.

Thank you for reading. And thank you, Captain Huggins, for speaking out.


Meet CMCEA’s bargaining team

Five dedicated employees have stepped up to negotiate a new contract on behalf of Costa Mesa’s employees.

The CMCEA bargaining team sits alongside support staff from the Orange County Employees Association and across the table from City of Costa Mesa executives and two outside attorneys who the City has hired to negotiate.

Combined, the bargaining team represents more than 100 years of service within the city. Here’s the 2013 CMCEA bargaining team!

Continue reading

Emergency employee meeting held to discuss City’s extreme proposal


CMCEA’s bargaining team met today in an emergency meeting with membership to review the City’s initial bargaining proposal, which would gut a contract that represents decades of consensus building, reduce take home pay for many employees by at least 15 percent, and allow the city to lay off employees with no notice.

The proposal provided by the City is 57 pages and is essentially a red-lined version of the employees current agreement with the City. Of the 22 contract provisions that employees and the City have mutually agreed upon during the past several decades, the City’s proposal would dramatically change all but one. None of the proposed changes would have a positive impact on employee compensation or other working conditions. Continue reading

Our promise: Transparency, accountability and common sense

Welcome to our website!


We are your Costa Mesa City employees.

We are proud to be a part of the Costa Mesa family. We promote a community-first, common-sense approach to tackling the city’s challenges. And we proactively participate—at work and during our free time—in projects that help strengthen our great community.

As we enter into contract negotiations this year, we also reaffirm our commitment to transparency and accountability in all we do. is a space for us to share updates from the bargaining table, insights into how things work at City Hall, and news involving the City’s great employees.

Thank you for reading,

Helen Nenadal
President, Costa Mesa City Employees Association

A bargaining history: CMCEA partners with the City

2013: Contract negotiations begin. Since 2004, the City has downsized significantly as a result of layoffs and eliminating vacant positions within the City. Employees have increasingly been doing more with less, while maintaining the high level of customer service our community expects and deserves.

2011: New employees hired after July 1, 2011 automatically participate in a less-expensive new pension tier, which CMCEA negotiated in 2010.

2010: For the fiscal year 2010-11 contract, CMCEA presents 25 potential cost-cutting measures to the City Council and the Council rejects them all. Instead, they present CMCEA with a list of demands, and, hoping to help the city while prevent further impacts to the city’s workforce, CMCEA agrees to all demands. CMCEA agrees to contribute even more to their existing retirements, as well as create a lower, less expensive pension tier for new employees. Employees also agree to furloughs between Christmas and New Year’s Day and other changes to health care and holiday time.

2009-2010: In order to address budget challenges, the City lays off nearly 30 employees while others took pay cuts to preserve their jobs. Employees also agreed to a five percent furlough.

2009: More than 20 full-time employees are laid off in July and August. An additional nine employees are shifted from full time to part-time work. Seven other employees are demoted because of position elimination.

2008: Employees agree again to increase the contribution they pay to their pensions. This is the last year employees receive a general wage increase.

2008: In the wake of the housing market crash, CMCEA members offer to take early retirements to prevent layoffs in the City.

2004: Costa Mesa employees negotiate a retirement enhancement and agree to contribute toward their pensions.

CMCEA supports Costa Mesa’s youth


The Costa Mesa City Employees Association was proud to participate this year in the Mesa Verde Classic, which raises money annually for Costa Mesa United, a group established more than 10 years ago in support of community youth sports programs in Costa Mesa. Contributions from the organization have helped to fund the construction of the Jim Scott Stadium at Estancia and the new Aquatics Center at Costa Mesa High. Continue reading