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Managed Competition Sweeping Through San Diego

Audio

Aired 1/14/11

The wave of managed competition continues to roll through San Diego City Hall. The mayor announced on Thursday three more services he’ll put out to bid.

— The wave of managed competition continues to roll through San Diego City Hall. The mayor announced on Thursday three more services he’ll put out to bid.

San Diego will put several city services out to bid including the street sweeping division.

Above: San Diego will put several city services out to bid including the street sweeping division.

Managed competition, or outsourcing some city services, has been stalled for about four years in the city. But now it’s rapidly moving forward.

Mayor Jerry Sanders has announced street sweeping, sidewalk and street maintenance and public utilities services will all go out to bid. Street sweeping has a budget of $4.5 million with 32 full-time employees. Street and sidewalk maintenance has a budget of $14.3 million with 102 full-time employees.

As for public utilities, the city will focus on outsourcing areas within the customer- service department with a combined budget of more than $3 million and 33 full-time employees.

But Sanders said it’s not a given that a private company will get the contract. He said city employees could win the contracts if they come up with a bid that will save San Diego money. He said some employees are anxious to prove themselves.

“The employees who actually run the street sweeper said if you get the bureaucracy out of our way nobody can beat us. And I’m banking on the fact that they’re right,” Sanders said.

Sanders was joined by Councilwoman Lorie Zapf while making the announcement. Zapf said outsourcing services doesn’t mean she dislikes city employees. It’s that she thinks the city can save money.

“I believe in competition because it works and because the money we save can be plowed back into our core services,” she said.

Zapf said in most cases city employees actually win the contracts put out to bid. The mayor’s office doesn’t know how much money might be saved through outsourcing but says the potential for savings is large. Private companies must lower the city’s cost by 10 percent to have a shot at a contract.

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