Costa Mesa announces restructuring hires

Editor's note: This corrects how much Bill Lobdell is making per week.

COSTA MESA — Costa Mesa Chief Executive Tom Hatch has hired his former boss as the city's interim financial director, the first time the post has been filled in 18 months, he announced in a city memo Sunday.

Larry Hurst will work no more than 25 hours a week for $80.83 an hour, or about $2,020 a week. His pay is covered by $200,000 the City Council set aside earlier this year to hire people to help Hatch restructure the city, said city communications director Bill Lobdell.

The city has not had a finance director since September 2009, when Marc Puckett resigned after being put on leave for undisclosed reasons.

Hurst served as Brea's financial services director for 15 years. Hatch worked for him for about four and a half years, according to Hatch's e-mail.

Hurst is one of several new additions to the city's payroll as Hatch and the City Council restructure the city's spending. He hired Lobdell, a former Daily Pilot columnist and editor, earlier this month for about $3,000 a week, which also comes out of that $200,000 allotment.

The city also brought on two human resource specialists from GrowthPort Partners, Inc. for the next four months. Tony Burnham and Leslie Gray will evaluate each city department, its costs, employees, and come back with recommendations by the end of July. The move is part of the city's plan to outsource more than 200 city employees to private companies.

Costa Mesa will pay GrowthPort no more than $50,000, which breaks down to about $36,000 in sizing up the city and making recommendations and $14,000 for advice and counsel for unrelated issues as they come up. That money, too, comes from the $200,000 allotment, Lobdell said.

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