It’s been a few weeks since I last scribbled some thoughts in this column. I guess it’s time for me to scratch around a little today.

City council received an “Organizational Review” from Bryce Consulting last night, for which (I believe) it paid something in the neighborhood of $30,000. Originally, this firm was asked to undertake a “classification and organizational” structure study. Had our present council majority not spent the last four years chasing away virtually all of the city’s most knowledgeable and talented employees, this study would not have been necessary, and the city would have saved $30,000.

It’s interesting to note that our new city manager is putting in for an assistant. Why is this necessary when so little is on the agenda? It seems like the Review’s recommendations load-up management while cutting-down staff. Hmm – beginning to sound like our school board.

If either former managers Roy Payne or Tom Ristau were still guiding city government, any staff reductions, necessitated by the severe city deficit, would have been handled smoothly and efficiently.

I was struck by the fact that a suggestion had to be made to have either a council member or our new city manager personally visit with individual staff members to evaluate job duties to determine what “adjustments” might be made. Both Payne and Ristau knew staff personally and the scope of their work.

These determinations were not completed before the report was released. In several cases (the deletion of Disaster Coordinator being one) any recommendation would be foolish without an understanding of the scope and efficiency of the position involved. In this case our Disaster Coordinator happens to be one of the hardest working and talented multi-tasking individuals on the city staff. His extraordinary range of technical responsibilities (and creative volunteer tasks) speak for themselves.

But, employee cuts must happen to redress our dangerous deficit. I just fail to understand how this report helps; an experienced city manager should know how to reorganize employees without the assistance of an expensive Organizational Review.

As usual, Councilman Jamey Brooks proved to be an annoying embarrassment as he snipped at Councilman Steve Conaway like a spoiled attack Yorkie. Little Caesar never seems to know how to behave himself. Following Conaway’s methodical questioning of City Manager Quiring on budget issues, Brooks quickly intervened with an unprovoked “If I can get a word in edgewise...” Or he appears incensed at the suggestion that the manager might walk through an investigation of individual employees’ job duties. She’s far too busy to do that, he complaind. Brooks needs to be collared with one of those funnel-like things used to prevent self-inflicted damage – in this case, further damage to his reputation.

Bad boy! No biscuit!

Nothing was reported concerning the status of former Fire Chief Pete Egedi or his threatened lawsuit against the city for reinstatement. Following a 3-year investigation for alleged criminal conduct, the Ventura County District Attorney dropped all charges.