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Costa Mesa explores outsourcing options

City requests bids from private companies to take over three services, with fourth likely to be opened up for bidding next week.

July 30, 2011|By Joseph Serna, joseph.serna@latimes.com

COSTA MESA — Despite a roadblock from the courts temporarily barring the city from outsourcing city services to private companies, Costa Mesa moved forward this week with its restructuring, putting out three more city services for potential outsourcing.

Costa Mesa requested bids to take over its animal control, building inspection and video production, with a fourth service — payroll, according to the city's schedule — likely to be opened up for bidding next week.

An Orange County Superior Court Judge this month signed an order prohibiting any city jobs from being replaced by private workers. It doesn't, however, keep Costa Mesa officials from exploring the option. The city can continue pursuing outsourcing jobs to public agencies, such as the Orange County Fire Authority absorbing the city's fire department.

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Organizations will respond to Costa Mesa's request by Sept. 1.

Costa Mesa is considering outsourcing most city services as part of a broad restructuring plan to lower employee costs and reinvest in city maintenance. As part of budget adjustments in the spring, Emergency Medical Services Coordinator Larry Grihalva's position was eliminated.

Grihalva became known to many residents earlier this year when during a council meeting he openly questioned the City Council's pace in overhauling the city, particularly its emergency medical response.

He pointed out that no one from the city had approached him with questions as Costa Mesa considered expanding its ambulance services, a move that Grihalva argued was unnecessary and possibly detrimental to residents.

His last day was Friday.

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