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Costa Mesa to decide on outsourcing requests

The city could share jail and video production services with other cities, but not building inspections.

September 16, 2011|By Joseph Serna

COSTA MESA — The City Council will consider sending out three requests for bids Tuesday that could outsource the city's video production, building inspection and jail services.

The requests for proposals (RFPs) are the first three the city has released since voting to potentially offload more than 40% of the city's workforce in March.

Limited by a court order to only outsource jobs to public agencies until a lawsuit employees filed against the city is resolved, the city can still entertain offers from agencies both public and private.

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Costa Mesa has been in discussions with Newport Beach to share their jail services, and a council staff report shows there might be an opportunity to partner for video services. Huntington Beach, Westminster, Stanton and Fountain Valley all share video production services.

Building inspections are a different story. According to the staff report, the service is necessary so the city can't just drop it, there's no other public agencies willing to partner with Costa Mesa, and the city is prohibited from privatizing the work.

The bids are part of a broad city restructuring agenda encouraged by the new council that started with Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer's election in November and Councilman Steve Mensinger's appointment earlier this year.

Righeimer and Mayor Gary Monahan earlier this year formed an ad hoc committee that looked at ways to balance the city's budget — a herculean task the last few years — and the committee came back and recommended outsourcing.

The council majority argue outsourcing city work will save the city costs long term with fewer pensions — though employees have agreed to contribute more to the costs — and reinvest in capital improvements in the city.

Tuesday's meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 77 Fair Drive.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

Twitter: @JosephSerna

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