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Costa Mesa Outsourcing Scheme Hits Another Dead End

SANTA ANA — In another incremental victory for Costa Mesa employees, a Superior Court Judge on Tuesday afternoon rejected the City of Costa Mesa’s motion to dispose of two of the four causes of action in a lawsuit challenging the layoffs of nearly half the City’s workforce.

“The employees are grateful that calmer and more reasoned minds continue to prevail over the politically motivated agenda of the City Council majority,” said Helen Nenadal, President of the Costa Mesa City Employees Association.

Costa Mesa’s high-priced and time-wasting attorney responded to the ruling with the customary spin that is expected from the losing side.

“The judge accepted the union’s ‘interpretation’ of the labor contract between the employees’ association and the City,” said John A. Vogt, special counsel for the City of Costa Mesa. “However, the City maintains the union’s alleged interpretation is not an interpretation at all, but rather a contradiction to the contract, which allows for outsourcing and even provides for a six-month notice for it. Unfortunately, the judge believes that she needed to accept the union’s ‘interpretation’ in ruling on a pleadings motion.

“This ruling doesn’t mean the union’s interpretation will survive summary judgment or trial or otherwise withstand scrutiny on appeal.”

More than 200 Costa Mesa employees received six-month layoff notices in March after the City Council voted to outsource their jobs. In May, the Costa Mesa City Employees Association filed a lawsuit to block the layoffs and outsourcing.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Tam Nomoto Schumann issued a preliminary injunction in July halting the layoffs and prohibiting the City from outsourcing to private contractors. Judge Schumann’s ruling on Tuesday does not affect a previously ordered preliminary injunction prohibiting the City from outsourcing to private contractors. Trial is scheduled to begin April 9.