Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Supervisor to lay out goals for 2007
By PEGGY LOWE
The Orange County Register
Crime? Down. Prosecutions? Up.
Unemployment? Down. Wages? Up.
Supervisor Chris Norby will offer a rosy view of the county's low crime and high employment rates in his State of the County speech today.
Norby says the Board of Supervisors will approve a plan for DNA testing on lesser crimes, make upgrades to John Wayne Airport and try to create more parks in the northern part of the county.
"Our county has long been a magnet for Americans seeking the California Dream and for immigrants seeking the American Dream," Norby says.
Orange County's government will work this year to prepare for natural disasters, carve out more parks for the northern part of the county and upgrade John Wayne Airport, Board of Supervisors Chairman Chris Norby says.
In his "State of the County" speech to be given today, Norby says the county is "strong," citing low unemployment, high education statistics and low crime rates.
He also outlines many priorities, including reaching "a fair and equitable" new contract with the deputy sheriffs union.
The board and the union have been at odds for some time over the deputies' labor contract, including the board's insistence that the union accept cuts in retiree medical benefits.
Bob MacLeod of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs had little response Monday to Norby's comments.
He said only that his group is negotiating with the county and he hopes they will reach an agreement to "mitigate the county's…liability."
In a nod to the entire county work force, Norby said the board will "continue to foster a mutually respectful relationship" with the unions.
But he also sent a diplomatic warning that the board doesn't want to pay for burgeoning retirement costs by raising taxes or cutting raises for current employees.
"Whatever our differences, we are bound by the same facts," Norby says.
Nick Berardino, general manager of the Orange County Employees Association, which represents 13,500 county employees, said his group will continue to foster a "respectful and collaborative working relationship" but that the problems are already paid for.
"There is no need to pass on any costs regarding our retirement program because we believe the facts clearly indicate the county employees have paid in full for that benefit," he said.
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