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City Council to consider contract extensions

Costa Mesa's communications consultant, human resources firm likely to be retained.

July 18, 2011|By Joseph Serna, joseph.serna@latimes.com

COSTA MESA — The City Council plans to approve on Tuesday more than $100,000 in contract extensions to consultants who provide communications and human resources services.

Agreements with the city interim communications director William Lobdell and the human resources consultants, GrowthPort Partners, are on the council's consent calendar — which gives officials the option of approving the contracts without discussion.

Lobdell's original contract was for 90 days at $75 an hour, or $3,000 a week, without benefits. That contract expires this month.

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The council is looking to extend his contract — officially with Lobdell's company, Four Boys New Media — through December for an additional $70,000.

The city hired GrowthPort Partners in March to help implement restructuring and layoffs throughout the city for about $50,000 with the contract ending in July.

City staff suggested retaining GrowthPort through June 2012 for another $50,000 so its two consultants could help review bids coming into the city for jobs being considered for outsourcing. The contract would let GrowthPort participate in selecting the companies Costa Mesa would hire to replace in-house services.

The staff reports for both Lobdell, a former Daily Pilot editor and columnist, and GrowthPort's contract extensions state city staff are too busy to perform the tasks currently provided by the consultants. Money for both contracts has already been budgeted.

On the revenue side, the City Council will also consider charging drivers $10 to have their "fix-it" tickets signed off by Police Department employees.

Costa Mesa is one of three Orange County cities — Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach are the other two — that doesn't charge for the service. The $10 charge would not apply to Costa Mesa residents who received tickets from Costa Mesa police, but residents would have to pay if they received the tickets in another city.

The city is also looking to add some teeth to its property-related fines. There are about 65 city-issued outstanding and overdue delinquent property-related citations worth about $32,000 in fines, interests and penalties.

If approved Tuesday, Costa Mesa would submit the fines, penalties and interest to the county tax collector, who would then issue a property tax lien against the homeowners.

City staff estimate the program could collect about $24,000, or 75%, of what's owed.

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