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Be good to Mama, she'll be good to you Carlos R. Davalos | Thu, Aug 12 2010 04:00 PM

If I were termed-out Chula Vista City Councilman John McCann, I'd think twice about running for a seat on the Sweetwater Union High School board of directors.

Instead I'd spend the next few months helping Ian Monahan explore opportunities outside the city of Chula Vista and the mayor's office.

Monahan is an aide to Mayor Ceryl Cox and, as The Union-Tribune's Wendy Fry reported this week, he recently received a substantial bump in pay, courtesy of the mayor and City Council.

Granted, Monahan's new $55,800 salary isn't anywhere near what Cox's former chief of staff was earning a few years back ($123,000 plus benefits like car allowances, and perks like being allowed to do consulting work while on city time), nor is it in the same ZIP code as what some of the public servants up in the city of Bell are making.

Nevertheless, going from $38,600 a year to $55,800 a year within a few weeks is - especially when over the last few years other city employees have either had their salaries cut or lost their jobs altoghether - well ... a nice raise if you can get it.

But, if I'm McCann, I'm thinking, "Dude, come December I'm out of a job. I have a wife and rug rats to feed."

And then the hamsters in my head would start running.

If there was some way to get Monahan to move on from his job with the mayor, that vacancy could be filled by me. Bam! Two birds, one stone.

First, it addresses my need for gainful employment so that I don't become one of the five to six percent in this city who don't have work. Heck, I'd even be making more money as mayoral aide than I do as a part-time council member (and I would carry less responsibility).

Second, it keeps me in the political game, working just enough behind the scenes that I'm out of harm's way while at the same time allowing me to show the Republican party I can be a team player by demonstrating that I can work with and take orders from my boss Cheryl.

Also, in four years, if and when it comes time to run for mayor, I can tell voters that not only am I a former council member, but by virture of having worked in the mayor's office, I'm qualified to lead the city.

Yes, even I am amazed by me sometimes.

Sure, there might be some in the city who would argue: "Hey, McCann, you had your eight years on the council. Enough is enough." To them I'd say. "Listen, our city charter allows me or anyone else who served to come back to the well again and again. So, ppppbbbffft!!"

But first things first. How do I get rid of Monahan? By all accounts he's a nice guy and, as Cox pointed out, he brought in more than $200,000 in grants to the city, which is one reason why he got the job reclassification/raise in the first place.

It should be noted that the only person to vote against the increase was Councilman Steve Castaneda, who questioned the timing of the move, which came a week after the city's budget was approved. [McCann had not yet returned to council from his time in Iraq.]

Coincidentally, it also came about a week after Cox was reelected to her second term in office after running on a platform of continud fiscal responsibility and careful spending. She told The U-T that the increase in pay had no financial "impact on the department's budget."

But if I'm McCann, I'm not hearing any of that. As I'm looking for ways to convince Monahan that greener pastures are there for the grazing outside of City Hall, I'm just humming a little tune from "Chicago."

"Got a little motto

Always sees me through

When you're good to Mama,

Mama's good to you."

If I'm McCann, I'm asking myself how can I be good to Mama Cox?


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