Anaheim: Tait Council Ally Pushing Massive Compensation Increase For Mayor’s Assistant

Cross-posted from Anaheim Blog:

Anaheim Insider here.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, rarely have so many work so hard to increase the pay of so few. Actually, just one person: Mishal Montgomery, Mayor Tait’s chief policy whisperer and hatchetman.

$87,000. All in with benefits and such, the cost of taxpayers of the newly-created “Chief Policy Advisor to the Mayor”?: a whopping $158,000.

District 1 Councilmember Denise Barnes has been fighting for this hefty pay increase for Mongtomery since being sworn into office last month. It was one of the first things out of her heavily-scripted mouth at the December swearing in ceremony.

According to the staff report:

For Fiscal Year 2016/2017, the total cost for the full-time classification is approximately $158,000 (salary and burden), which includes an increase in personnel expenses of $87,000 for the remainder of the fiscal year. Previous action has already been taken to address approximately $40,000 of the anticipated increase. The City Administration Department has identified savings in their budget to offset the increase so there is no net impact to the General Fund. The City Council budget will be increased by $47,000 with a corresponding decrease in City Administration.

Dan Chmielewski from gives a run-down of Montgomery’s compensation history in her part-time position:

In 2010, Montgomery’s total pay — including pension, overtime and benefits — was $79,624.  All for part-time work.

In 2011, it was $87,123. Still part-time.

In 2012, $86,365.  Still part-time.

In 2013, it was cut to $43,987; still part-time. The difference in pay was routed to a computer training problem for Latino families in the Ponderosa neighborhood of Anaheim.

In 2014, it was $59,334 which included overtime for part-time work.

In 2015, she made $62,498, and was still part-time.  All compensation records are public and her title was Budget Analyst II.

For a Mayor and a Council majority so against to cronyism, doubling the pay of a part-time employee loyal to the Mayor is the very definition of cronyism.  But its different when Tait does it.

If approved, Montgomery’s new job will be the first and only new job created in Anaheim by the new council majority which seemingly has no plans to actually create jobs in a city that really needs them.

District 1 residents must be wondering why their nominal representative on the City Council is fixated on securing a huge pay increase for the Mayor’s assistant. Does anyone recall Barnes campaign mailers asking voters to support her so she could give the Mayor’s assistant a massive $47,000 pay hike? Barnes would never have been elected if her actual priorities were on public display for voters to see. As it was, she barely squeaked in with 27% in a large candidate field against divided opposition. Not that that has stopped her and other members of Tait’s personality cult from behaving as though Barnes won a mandate.

West Anaheimers look forward to hearing Barnes read talking points written by her handlers explaining how her unrelenting efforts to boost Montgomery’s take-home pay will trickle down to the benefit of District 1 residents. Will the self-appointed taxpayer watchogs from CATER be on hand to question this massive compensation increase for a single individual?

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