Advertisement

Mailbag: City addresses long-standing problems

October 08, 2011

Recent columns, commentary and article comments on the current outsourcing debate in Costa Mesa have left out one key detail — the fact that the city has long considered contracting out city services (outsourcing) a "…viable, realistic alternative to providing … services with city staff." The reality is that outsourcing is an established policy and practice in Costa Mesa. In fact, consideration of outsourcing is a required element of the annual budget process.

Twelve years ago, the Costa Mesa City Council adopted Council Policy 100-6, effective May 17, 1999, because "...[t]he financial instability of the state of California and the lingering effects of the economic recession have significantly impacted Costa Mesa's general fund resources."

The policy provided the council with the tools needed to weather future economic crisis by considering outsourcing, reorganizing or downsizing where appropriate. Today, economic conditions are far worse, and the City Council is considering outsourcing some city services.

Advertisement

Unfortunately, the process has turned into a costly union battle. Caught in the middle are hundreds of talented Costa Mesa city employees and the residents, homeowners and businesses who interact with and pay the taxes that support them.

Council Policy 100-6 states in relevant part: "[T]his continuous analysis of departmental operations is essential to providing the highest quality of city services at the lowest cost. This policy emphasizes council's desire to rethink service delivery to achieve optimum effectiveness and efficiency."

The policy has not been consistently followed by past councils. Instead of taking actions to provide the highest efficiency and quality at the lowest cost, past councils have continued to approve contracts that impede operational flexibility and impose unnecessary costs.

Successful lobbying and hefty political contributions by the employee associations and the union have paid off. Their influence is clear — one former council member went so far as to state from the dais that she would go through the budget line by line and cut every service to residents necessary to ensure that not one employee lost their job.

A noble stand to some, but hardly in conformance with Council Policy 100-6 or her duty to residents and businesses.

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles
|
|
|