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Managed Competition Coming To San Diego

— Private companies will soon be able to bid against city departments to provide some San Diego City services. The city council has approved a guide that dictates how services may be outsourced.

The managed competition guide has been in the works for about four years. The council’s approval means the city can begin the process of putting some services out to bid. Labor unions and the mayor’s office came to an agreement on what the guide should say earlier this month. Councilman Carl DeMaio has long supported managed competition as a way to save money. But he said this guide falls short.

"When you actually look at the details inside of the managed competition guide, that’s backed by the labor unions, you’ll find that it is a rigged process designed to discourage bidding on an open and level playing field and lays out a process that is so convoluted and so unworkable that it kills true managed competition," he said.

But Councilwoman Donna Frye called DeMaio’s characterization of the guide unprofessional.

"To make allegations of a rigged system that we have spent the last four years working on... And the city attorney made his point that he did raise issues, those issues were address," she said.

Frye is one of the main backers of a proposed city sales tax increase on the November ballot. Completing a managed competition guide is one of the 10 reforms that must be met before the tax could be collected. DeMaio opposes the tax hike.

The managed competition guide says private companies must come in with a bid 10 percent lower than a city department to win a contract. The mayor’s office said it could bring potential contracts back to the council in the next few months.

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