Be careful what you wish for! Orme’s departure leaves us out of the frying pan and into the fire

28 Mar

Well, if wishes were horses, eh? I’ve wished for Mark Orme to be fired many times. I’m sure resignation under pressure is almost as bad for his professional reputation. But, he’ll get another job, if he hasn’t already, and probably a higher salary. His former assistant manager, Chris Constantin, at least as culpable in this mess as Orme, did exactly that.

But what is council thinking, installing Police Chief Matt Madden as interim city manager? We have an assistant city manager, Jennifer McCarthy. McCarthy was hired away from her position as Butte County Deputy Administrative Officer (asst mgr). It seems to me she would be the natural choice to move into Orme’s position. And then you know what? I’d eliminate the Assistant Manager position altogether. The city has actually paid consultants, Chad Wolford for one, to tell them they are “management top-heavy” and have “too much overhead”, but they don’t listen. Council just keeps making the same left turn right into a pile of doo-doo.

I’d sure like to see the argument that was made in favor of moving the police chief into the city manager position. He’s been chief of police for less than two years, and I don’t think he’s done a very good job as of this point. One concern I had was when he took the Police Advisory Board off the radar, holding “private meetings”. Comments he made regarding his relationship with council were very alarming.

Madden told the News and Review in July 2021, “This is not a City Council-run board; this was created by the chief of police, for the chief of police,” he added. “If council wants to create some different type of board, ad hoc committee, whatever—similar to what we saw last year [with then-Mayor Ann Schwab’s Policing Ad Hoc Committee]—they have all the authority to do that.”

He has held PAB meetings in “private”. What right does he have to take public business into his back room? And with his chosen board members, he’s rewritten the rules for participation. According to board member and failed city council candidate Jovanni Tricerri, “You’re not going to find on this board somebody who doesn’t want the police department to exist… ” Who does he mean exactly? I thought the whole purpose of this board was “community input”.

This is not a good direction for the city of Chico. As of now, I’m looking for somebody to run against Kasey Reynolds. I will support you.

8 Responses to “Be careful what you wish for! Orme’s departure leaves us out of the frying pan and into the fire”

  1. Scott Rushing March 28, 2022 at 2:13 pm #

    Juanita is once again sharing an important issue to taxpayers. Why make Madden the interim city manager when your city has been paying a staffer who is qualified and ready to take that position. The question is non-transparency. What are the councilors covering up? Remember your police department has a blank check from the current council to purchase war materials to use on civilians. Were the taxpayers notified? Are military weapons needed in Chico? What are your mayor and council covering up?

    • Juanita Sumner March 28, 2022 at 2:40 pm #

      Thanks Scott, I really hoped you would comment. I think it’s outrageous.

      For one thing – and here’s the woman talking – it’s the 21st century, and they are still promoting men over women who are more qualified for the job.

      And yeah, they’re covering up something with all these “special”, last minute notice meetings – I just received notice of the “special” meeting they called for tomorrow night to speed through approval of their gerrymandering.

      What should we do?

      • BC March 29, 2022 at 9:26 am #

        Now we have the Chief of Police as City Manager? There are at least 2 huge problems with this structure.

        (1) Both of these positions are complicated multi-faceted full time jobs. Running a mid-size city is a comprehensive personal challenge. So is the policing of that city.

        One person cannot do both jobs effectively. The “can” will just get kicked down the road.

        (2) The City Manager has a huge amount of input on the contract, salary, pension, and benefits of City employees, including the police department. Ever heard the expression” The fox is in the hen house?” In this case, its more like giving your credit card number to a stranger and hoping for the best.

        How did the City council possible approve this? Don’t we have adults running this town?

      • Juanita Sumner March 29, 2022 at 10:29 am #

        This just confirms my feeling that none of our illustrious council members are qualified to do the job. Kasey Reynolds admitted, she didn’t understand half of what was going on with the lawsuit. They’re idiots, they placed way too much trusst in staff.

      • Scott Rushing March 29, 2022 at 10:05 am #

        My suggestion is to contact the Legal Services organization that led to the legal settlement now that all the “good ole boys “ run the city. Are there Brown Act violations??? Seems like it. They want to swat a nosy woman away …but you can get some muscle.

      • Juanita Sumner March 29, 2022 at 1:30 pm #

        Thanks Scott, I know you’re trying to be helpful, but I have absolutely no use for Legal Services of NorCal or Cory Turner their stooge. Those people really screwed us, and they just did it for the money. Nor would I get into a legal battle with the town I live in – that would be a self-screwing.

        No, I’m talking about getting some good people who have brains and experience to run for those seats available in November. I guess we have to wait to see what districts they come up with. Here’s a name I’ll throw out – let’s ask David Little to run. He’s a smart guy who is very knowledgeable about our town, having covered it for years as editor of the local paper. He knows a lot about legal stuff – like the Brown Act and the Freedom of Info Act – because as editor he was constantly battling public agencies who tried to ignore the laws.

        That’s the first name on my Dream Team list, let’s hear some others.

      • Scott Rushing March 29, 2022 at 1:52 pm #

        David Little maybe everything you said but he is someone for which I have zero respect and you are welcome to tell him I said so.

        Your idea of getting some intelligent new blood into the city government is right on. A democracy…demos is Latin for “people” and cracy is Latin for “rule” … that IS the answer!

        Right now the “good ole boys” have a closed shop…especially to women!… and women make up 51% +/- of the residents of Chico per the 2019 US census data….so how many lady cops does the city employ? How many lady city council members does the city have? Are females underrepresented in key positions of leadership in Chico??? OF COURSE!

      • Juanita Sumner March 29, 2022 at 2:51 pm #

        I’m sorry to hear that you don’t like Dave Little – he’s not a personal friend of mine but in my frequent dealings as a contributor to his paper over 10 or more years, I found him fair and honest.

        Scott, don’t try to appeal to me as a feminist, you’re lousy at it. I live here, and I’ll say, we have Good Old Boys, and we have Good Old Girls – what else would you call the Ritter/Lucero/Brown triad? We’ve had plenty of women serve on council – 3 mayors – including Marti Worley way back in the 80’s when there were few women mayors anywhere. Of the two I know personally, Ann Schwab was a disaster, so was Mary Flynn Goloff.

        Did anybody hear Alex Brown, Deepika Tandon, or Kasey Reynolds object to a man being promoted over a woman who was directly in line for the job? I’m asking, cause I wasn’t there.

        I agree with you in that we need some better people on council, so I’ll leave it there.

        Oh sheesh, how could I forget Mary Andrews, she was a great council member, a feisty mayor, and one of my son’s favorite teachers at Butte College.

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