Handing Sean Morgan a tax increase would be like giving a loaded gun to a chimp

8 Jul

Tuesday night (6/5/22), Chico City Council hired former Mayor and Councilman Mark Sorensen for the city manager position, unanimous approval. I was not able to get his contract before the meeting – the clerk’s office told me, as you may have read here, that they are not required to show the contract to the public until Sorensen has agreed to it.

So council/staff hurriedly agendized the appointment for the July 5 meeting, I assume they knew I was not going to bother them for the details over the Fourth of July weekend. How ironic – over Fourth of July weekend, they hoodwinked the taxpayers. $207,000 annual base salary, over twice what he was getting as city manager of Biggs. And Lord only knows what else.

I was watching the Ch 7 News and saw Sean Morgan talking about Sorensen. Get out your barf bag, this is tough to listen to.


First there’s this cryptic statement: “He is almost single-handedly responsible for saving the City of Chico from bankruptcy,” Morgan said, praising Sorensen. “He had the courage to stand up when bureaucrats said, ‘you don’t need to know that, you need to get out of my office, you’re just a lowly elected official.'”

Just which “bureaucrats” is Morgan talking about? And excuse me, we haven’t exactly been saved from bankruptcy yet, we’re still picnicking on the railroad tracks as I sit here.

Here’s reality: As a member of council in 2012, Sorensen hired Brian Nakamura, agreeing to a $40,000 increase in the city manager salary to $220,000/year. At the time, management employees PAID NOTHING toward their pension or benefits. Nakamura immediately pointed out a $160,000 pension deficit (a total $190,000 if he’d added in the “benefits deficit”), but blamed it entirely on the police and fire departments. Citing threats from public safety employees, Nakamura left for a new job less than a year and a half later, receiving a year’s salary as part of the agreement he made with Sorensen and the others.

Sorensen then agreed to hire Nakamura’s chosen replacement, Mark Orme. Orme briefly took a cut to $180,000/yr but was not asked to pay ANYTHING toward his retirement or benefits.

Morgan was not on council when Orme was hired but later agreed to raise Orme’s salary to $207,000/yr if he’d pay more of his pension cost – his share gradually increased, first 3%, then 6%, then finally he agreed to pay “the city’s share” and is currently paying 9%. In return council agreed to give Orme a special kind of 401K for public employees – a 457 fund. Council, including Sorensen and Morgan, agreed to deposit an additional $20,000/year into that fund – how is that not a raise? Because he doesn’t have to pay taxes on it. In fact, in his contract, it states, that none of his benefits are taxable until he retires. That’s called “deferment,” and it saves him a shit-ton of money.

Orme pays a grand total of 9%, toward 70% of his highest years salary at retirement. At the base listed above, that would be over $140,000/yr, with Cost of Living Adjustment (Increase). And he only pays about $25,000/year. According to Transparent California, Orme alone has racked up a $70,000 pension deficit.

Thanks largely to his friends, Mark Sorensen and Sean Morgan. Especially Morgan and Orme had a very friendly relationship, with Morgan constantly referring to Orme affectionately as “Skipper”. So, it’s just a little weird now, to hear him refer to Orme as a “bureaucrat” and lay the entire blame for our current situation at Orme’s feet. A big turnaround from two years ago, when Morgan led the council to hand Orme total executive “emergency powers” during the COVID shutdown, allowing him to hire three new positions, and even appoint a new police chief at a higher salary than the former chief.

Excuse me there, Sean, you shit-for-brains – just exactly how is that “standing up to the bureaucrats”?

Handing an idiot like this a tax increase is like handing a loaded gun to a chimpanzee. Excuse me, that’s one of my favorite episodes of “Monk”. Yeah, we all miss Sharona.

4 Responses to “Handing Sean Morgan a tax increase would be like giving a loaded gun to a chimp”

  1. bob July 9, 2022 at 9:00 am #

    It’s a big game the politicians and bureaucrats play to benefit each other and at our expense, of course.

    They are all useless parasites who will try to squeeze every nickel from us and they couldn’t care less if the city declares bankruptcy just as long as they are retired when that happens.

    That’s why they are so desperate for that sales tax increase — to postpone the day of reckoning until they are gone.

    • Juanita Sumner July 9, 2022 at 11:49 am #

      Bingo! If Kasey Reynolds wants to make council and staff answerable to the taxpayers, why does she approve contacts with “indemnity clauses”?

  2. bob July 9, 2022 at 9:01 am #

    Is that video Chico PD?

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