Thursday, September 16, 2010
San Diego may be moving forward with outsourcing some city services four years after voters approved the concept. The two affected unions have reached a tentative agreement with the mayor’s office on a managed competition guide.
SAN DIEGO San Diego may be moving forward with outsourcing some city services four years after voters approved the concept. The two affected unions have reached a tentative agreement with the mayor’s office on a managed competition guide.
Supporters of what’s known as managed competition say allowing private businesses to compete to provide certain city services could potentially save San Diego a lot of money.
Mike Zucchet is general manager of the San Diego Municipal Employees Association. He says the city is already lean in its operations, so the savings might not be that big. And he says his union expects to keep most of its work because it operates efficiently.
“In a fair fight, city employees are going to win most of the time,” he said. “And that’s been the experience at the County of San Diego and other jurisdictions because when it comes to public services public employees tend to do the best job.”
Zucchet points out that public safety, the city’s biggest expense, can’t be outsourced.
Voters first approved managed competition in 2006. The MEA and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 127 have been negotiating with the city since then to come up with a managed competition guide. Local 127 representative Damian Tryon also believes his union can win contracts.
“We wanted to make sure that the process was fair…and that it wasn’t just a sham, that there were real savings if we did lose," he said.
Union members and the City Council must approve the agreement. San Diego Mayoral Spokesman Darren Pudgil says his office is anticipating moving forward.
“We’re very optimistic that the city council will approve this which will allow us to identify some functions of government that we can move through the managed competition process,” Pudgil said.
The City Council will take up the issue at the end of September.
Creating a managed competition guide is one of 10 reforms linked to a sales tax increase on the November ballot.