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Councilman: Eliminate Pay, Benefits for Fountain Valley Officials

"You shouldn't come into the position looking for extra benefits," says Steve Nagel. Mayor Pro Tem Mark McCurdy says such benefits allow him to serve the city independently.

Fountain Valley City Council member Steve Nagel confirmed last week he favors eliminating the monthly stipend and optional health, life and retirement benefits provided to the members of the council.

"We're in a time now where we need to look at all of our costs," Nagel said. "We don't pay our part-time people medical benefits, and we're part-time council people. I feel you shouldn't come into the position looking for extra benefits. To be responsible, and to be true to cutting our costs where we can, it's a wise move, and I'm just trying to bring some points forward so we can see if we're spending our money wisely."

Nagel first brought the issue up during the council's March 20 meeting. Each council member receives a monthly stipend of $475, and can also choose to accept health insurance, life insurance and a small pension from the city.

Every member of the council except for Michael Vo receives life insurance from the city, which provides $15,000 in benefits and costs $2.63 a month for each policy. The retirement plan offered to the council provides a monthly 26 percent pension based on the monthly stipend. Mayor John Collins and council member Larry Crandall are enrolled in the pension program.

The most costly optional benefit provided to council members is health insurance. Crandall and Mark McCurdy accept the city-provided insurance, the cost of which varies depending on the plan. Crandall's plan costs the city $575 a month, while McCurdy's costs $946 a month. McCurdy defended his decision to accept health insurance from the city, saying that it allows him to be more objective when making the sorts of important decisions that affect the city.

"It's not a huge amount, and it enables somebody who isn't rich to work this way without being dependent upon special interests," he said. "It gives them a sense of independence and freedom to make the right decisions. The popular trend is for everybody to give up their stipends, but I planned and I budgeted to get where I'm at, and I'll have to plan and budget to change it. In concept, [eliminating pay and benefits is] good, but the little but we get helps us to be more independent."

Crandall said he supported doing away with the council's health insurance benefits four years ago when it was last brought up, but that it never got done. He said he'd support a similar proposal now for newly elected council members, but would allow existing council members to be grandfathered into their benefits. As for the stipend, Crandall said he'd be in favor of keeping it because, he said, Fountain Valley's stipend is considerably lower then that of other cities.

Joker Joe April 04, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Will McCurdy be less objective if we did not have to pay his insurance? If so, we do not need him, right? If the $946 a month we are paying for his insurance is the difference between listening to us , the citizens, and some developer MAYBE will don't need him? Crandall says the elimination of these extras was brought up but never got done... HELLO!!! BRING IT UP & GET IT DONE!!!! It's not like we are planning a moon shot! Duhhhhh.
Concerned citizen April 04, 2012 at 05:48 PM
It takes time away from work and family for good folks to serve on the city council and Fountain Valley had had a lot of them over the years. I hope we don't make it so that only the rich can serve on the council. I don't see how having the city pay a councilman's health insurance or stipend makes them more or less objective. Matter of fact I would rather the city be paying them something for their efforts than them depending on some other sort of income that might influence their vote.
Joker Joe April 04, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Well we are paying them and it is obvious that they could care less about the citizens in the area. The new development at Talbert and Brookhurst in question. I take it your contention amounts to the more you pay them the less influence they will have from outside interests? Well then let's raise the benefits! How much would it take, in cash, to get the city council to listen to it's property owners in matters relating to concerns in their area instead of outside property developers??? Please publish a figure......
Concerned citizen April 04, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Oh, please, we aren't the City of Bell. From every study I've seen our benefits are in line with other cities. The councilman you attacked earlier for his taking health benefits abstained on the vote on the development at Talbert and Brookhurst. Obviously we disagree but I think over the many years our city council and city government have done a great job listening to the citizens. Do I agree with their every vote, no, but do I think they listen to the voters, yep.
Joker Joe April 04, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Don't give me your "OH PLEASE" attitude!!! Pick yourself up and look around. Their are many problems not being considered or addressed by the city council. It is a part time job & should be voluntary. If your doing it for money then resign. I would gladly take the position for ZERO benefits and improve the landscape 100% because I think the community should rule. They may listen, but then they do what big money wants. Build, build, build.
Concerned citizen April 04, 2012 at 06:41 PM
So when are you throwing your hat in the ring?
Joker Joe April 04, 2012 at 06:52 PM
When ever I can get a monthly stipend and optional health, life and retirement benefits that will let me concentrate on my constituents.... lol lol
Carol Hakala April 04, 2012 at 08:27 PM
When the City of FV does not pay benefits for part-time employees, ask yourself why Council members were ever paid health insurance and pensions benefits. Crandall said he agreed 4 years ago health insurance benefits should be given up, yet nothing happened. Why? He was on the Council, why didn't he pursue the matter? Of course not. Now that he has finally announced he will not be running for re-election, he is agreeable "newly-elected" council persons should not have health insurance benefits. How magnanimus. Council members should be paid their stripends for their part-time work, but should not receive any other benefits. Why are they receiving any type of pension for a part-time position? The emphasis here is "part-time". With Crandall leaving, let's only hope the "Old Boys Network" can finally start losing their hold on our City. As far as Nagel's position at this point, it is commendable, but again, this is an election year for him. Taking this position may be a politically correct position, knowing without other council members taking the same position, absolutely nothing will come of it. Keep the stripends as compensation for the part-time job done and do away with any and all of the benefits not typically paid by the City of Fountain Valley to other part-time employees!
fleur_amour_ca@yahoo.com April 05, 2012 at 04:54 AM
It is about time the people of FV should vote to replace all the greed & dirty politician only think of themselves only not about people in FV. There are major concern had brought up millions time regarding people who living in FV address but forced their children to Garden Grove school district for example people live on Newhope/Warner right next to Matsuda middle school forced to go to Fritz middle school which is stupid. People should have choice for their children or families education... None of these City Councilmen or Major ever give a damn about people only their own benefit sit on their ass eat up tax payers $$&&
fleur_amour_ca@yahoo.com April 05, 2012 at 05:00 AM
They need to put someone else to replace these corruption and racist Goverment . Children education is the key foundation of a strong City and Country. These folks sitting in FV too old too tire to able get a job so this is their way of getting benefit from tax payers.
Jim Pull April 05, 2012 at 04:45 PM
McCurdy is a Insurance agent himself. Are we to believe he never had insurance before? As far as him not being rich - well then he sure spent a crap load of other peoples money to get elected. I spent less then $1000.00 and got about 1000 votes. He spent well over $50,000 in both of his campaigns. And don't even get me started on Vo - Has he ever actually done anything yet other then vote exactly like Crandall and pose for every Vietnamese function?
kiieelze April 05, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I don't mean to sound like a socialist, but everyone deserve some basic preservation in order to sustain oneself in this world. We really need to find solutions to these problems by offering services that is in an efficient, less costly ways possible. When I am speaking of services, I mean any kind of services that a citizen or an agent of the government may needs. If there some middle men involve, let cut them out completely. Someone should bid out service contracts to the lowest bidders so that there is no monopoly in play. Let be competitive with these stuff. Seriously, if my budget is said $1,000, do I contract with service providers at Bel Air Estate at $3,000 or with Santa Ana at $300, hypothetically speaking. The ran away budget deficit is due to hemorrhage that can't be patched with increase taxes. In desperation, if the government can do it then they'll even tax the air we breath.
Joker Joe April 05, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Might mention that to Obama also but it will not take. Hard to give common sense out for nothing!
Jeanne Galindo April 06, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Mr. Pull, Perhaps you should check your facts before you state that Mark McCurdy spent over 50K on his campaigns. Just call the city clerk and ask for the 460's. Those tell you what each candidate spent on their campaigns. McCurdy spent no where near 50K. As far as compensation, the council members deserve a small stipend for the many hours they spend on city business. Fountain Valley pays less than half of other cities in Orange County. If one council person wants to give up their stipend, let them do it. That is their choice and should not be a mandate for other council members.

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