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San Diego’s Plan To Outsource IT Support Services Jobs Moves Forward

A plan to outsource San Diego's information technology support services to a private company based in Los Angeles County was advanced today by a committee to the full City Council, but there was little support for the idea championed by Mayor Jerry Sanders as a way to save money.

The Rules, Open Government and Intergovernmental Relations Committee voted 3-1 to forward the proposed contract with Gardena-based En Pointe to take over computer help desk and desktop support services from the city-controlled San Diego Data Processing Corp.

The panel declined to endorse the contract, but agreed to move it on to the City Council so that it can be further vetted.

Council President Ben Hueso cast the dissenting vote, who argued against outsourcing city jobs. He said the work should go to Data Processing Corp. and the city should look for efficiencies within the nonprofit, quasi-city agency to save money.

"It's just really sad we are here," Hueso said. "I would have preferred we would have followed a different process to come to efficiencies. I don't support doing this."

Council members Todd Gloria and Donna Frye also had reservations.

Data Processing Corp. has managed San Diego's information technology services for the past three decades. The agency employs more than 250 people, about 26 of whom would lose their jobs if the computer help desk contract goes to En Pointe.

En Pointe was selected by the mayor's office over eight other companies, including Data Processing Corp., for the contract.

At a news conference last month, Sanders said the city would save money and get better service from En Pointe.

Under the terms of the proposed contract, the city would pay En Pointe about $1.2 million annually, compared to the $2.7 million the city will pay Data Processing Corp. for the same services this year.

Data Processing Corp. is charged with maintaining thousands of city desktop computers, laptops and telephones, providing technical support and operating San Diego's Web and database needs. The agency's overall budget is about $42 million.

Sanders has indicated that he plans to seek bids from private companies over the coming months to potentially take over all of the services provided by Data Processing Corp.

During today's hearing, more than a dozen Data Processing Corp. staffers urged the City Council to reject the contract.

"All of these individuals and their families will be financially impacted one way or the other," Linda Berns, a Data Processing Corp. employee, told the committee. "I urge you to really think about your vote today and the domino effect it will have on the people, the families and friends and San

Diego."

The possible outsourcing of the Data Processing Corp. is seen as a bellwether for San Diego's voter-approved managed competition program, which allows private companies to compete for work now performed by city employees.

Because Data Processing Corp. is a separate entity from the city, it is not technically covered under the managed competition program, but it is the first municipal entity in San Diego that the mayor's office has sought to outsource.

Managed competition was approved by voters in 2006, but has not yet been realized due to disagreements between the mayor's office and the city's labor unions over how it should be implemented. A majority on the council are also viewed as union friendly and unlikely to support privatizing city services.

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