Judge signs written ruling halting Costa Mesa layoffs [Corrected]

Employee union argues that city did not meet with employees before issuing layoff notices, as stipulated in contracts.

July 18, 2011|By Lauren Williams,

COSTA MESA — An Orange County Superior Court judge has signed an injunction halting the sweeping layoffs planned for Costa Mesa City Hall until after a court case on the matter is heard.

The Friday ruling comes after Judge Tam Nomoto Schumann's verbal decision from July 5 granted the preliminary injunction, according to the Orange County Employees Assn.

The city said in a press release that it indeed had to halt layoffs of some employee classes. However, Friday's ruling does not prohibit the city from exploring contracts with nearby cities, Orange County or private companies, according to a statement released by city spokesman William Lobdell.


The city can continue to explore outsourcing the Fire Department to the Orange County Fire Authority, he said.

The Costa Mesa Employees Assn. filed a preliminary injunction in May to stop the possible outsourcing of 213 city employees, or about 40% of the its workforce.

The OCEA argued that the city cannot outsource jobs to the private sector under State law.

An earlier version incorrectly stated that the Orange County Employees Assn. filed the lawsuit and had the OCEA's arguments wrong.

The city did not meet with employees before issuing layoff notices, as stipulated in contracts between the city and its employees. In her July 5 decision, Schumann made a note of it.

"We respect the judge's ruling, and we hope the City Council and [city Chief Executive] Tom Hatch will do the same," OCEA spokeswoman Jennifer Muir said in a statement released Monday.

City employees received pink slip notices in March. Before the ruling, they could have been laid off on Sept. 30.

The ruling is in effect until the trial, which is unlikely to take place before Sept. 30.

— Staff Writer Joseph Serna also contributed to this report.

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