COSTA MESA — The city has retained a labor lawyer to negotiate with employee groups – a departure from the way it once negotiated with workers.
"This is a way to even the field for the taxpayer, hiring a negotiator," said city spokesman Bill Lobdell.
The city announced Monday that it had hired, at $300 an hour, Richard Kreisler of the Los Angeles-based Liebert Cassidy Whitmore law firm.
Kreisler will handle contract negotiations with Costa Mesa's several employee groups.
Costa Mesa previously relied on its former administrative services director, Steve Mandoki, to negotiate with employees.
City Chief Executive Tom Hatch sent letters to all six employee groups last month asking them to formally negotiate with the city. Three haven't responded; two said they were willing to negotiate formally or informally, and the third said it would negotiate if the city rescinded layoff notices to workers facing possible outsourcing.