UPDATE: Judge Schumann issues injunction stopping layoffs!!
SANTA ANA — The hearing on the request by the Costa Mesa City Employees’ Association for a Preliminary Injunction to stop the layoffs of more than 100 city workers is on the docket in the Court of Judge Tam Nomoto Schumann today at 3:00 PM. Costa Mesa City Employees’ argue that the issuance of layoff notices on March 17th by the City were unlawful since there was no determination that the employees jobs were actually planned for outsourcing.
The City Council majority, led by Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer, decided in February that in order to cut long-term pension costs that the City should outsource the majority of its non-safety work force. They reached this conclusion before determining the feasibility of the actual outsourcing of those jobs. No requests for proposals (RFP) had been issued at the time, much less even written. To date, only one RFP has been released, for jail custody services.
California law prohibits General Law cities like Costa Mesa from outsourcing services except under very narrow circumstances. The employees contend that the City’s action to outsource nearly all city services (except police) exceeds the power granted to municipalities and clearly violates California law, Additionally, the City’s contract with the Employees Association prohibits this type of mass outsourcing under the terms of the agreement, which doesn’t expire until March 31, 2013.
Last Tuesday, the Orange County Employees Association renewed its offer to renegotiate with the City to avoid the outsourcing of City services and needless layoffs of more than 100 dedicated employees represented by OCEA and the Costa Mesa City Employees Association. The city failed to respond and appears hellbent on moving forward with the layoffs and fighting in court, rather than sitting down for a meaningful conversation about the real needs facing the city and its dedicated workforce.