Dan Joyce no longer employed by Costa Mesa

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Costa Mesa Public Affairs Manager Dan Joyce, who was put on leave last year after the city’s 60th anniversary celebration went over budget, is no longer employed by the city, an official confirmed to the Daily Pilot on Monday.

The circumstances of Joyce’s departure were not immediately clear Monday.

Citing the confidentiality of personnel matters, city spokesman Bill Lobdell and other officials declined to offer additional comment, including the date the separation became effective.

If his departure was not by choice, then under the municipal code, Joyce is eligible to appeal the decision.


Joyce had been on paid administrative leave since Aug. 6, a period of nearly 10 months.

Joyce was the city’s lead organizer for Costa Mesa’s 60th anniversary party last summer. He worked alongside Assistant Recreation Supervisor Christine Cordon, who was placed on paid leave at the same time as Joyce, as well as a citizens committee.

Eventually reinstated, Cordon returned to work Dec. 30. At the time, city officials declined to say whether Cordon’s return to City Hall meant she was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Joyce began his tenure in Costa Mesa as an interim employee in early 2011. He later became a full-time employee.

In late January, after months of withholding documents because of various investigations, officials released more than 1,000 pages related to the three-day party, which cost about $518,000 — significantly more than its original $315,000 estimate for the year’s 60th festivities, which Joyce provided to the City Council in February 2013.

The “60 & Fabulous” party ended up about $84,000 in the hole, with City Hall paying $209,000, officials said. The original council allotment was $125,000.

The largest chunk of the total cost — $232,000 — was picked up by the hotel tax-funded Costa Mesa Conference and Visitor Bureau. The organization originally agreed to $25,000.

According to 60th anniversary committee members in a meeting soon after the June 28 to 30 party, there were behind-the-scenes problems as well.

City Hall acknowledged various misgivings stemming from the party and began instituting a series of reforms to correct problems, including instituting a refresher training course on the city’s purchasing process.

The findings of the party’s criminal investigation were forwarded to the Orange County district attorney’s office earlier this year for review into possible municipal code violations.

“The multiple investigations have found no evidence to date that public funds were used for personal gain or were unaccounted [for],” the 60th investigation’s executive summary reported. “However, purchasing policies and procedures were not adhered to in many cases.”

District attorney’s office spokeswoman Farrah Emami said Monday that her office is reviewing the investigation’s findings.