Editorial: Union bill in California legislature to limit local cities’ contracting decisions is an ambiguous mess

Many of California’s cities and counties, weighed down by mounting retirement and benefit costs, are barely keeping their heads above water. Now the state Legislature is considering an onerous bill that could push some of them under.

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AB 1250, introduced by Assemblyman Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, aims to stop local governments from contracting out for key services. As written, it is hopelessly ambiguous, but the intent is clear: Increasing the number of public employees, who would be members of unions, rather than looking at outside services that could be more cost-effective.

At this point, it is aimed only at cities and counties operating under general state law, not charter cities such as San Jose and a number of others in Silicon Valley or charter counties like Santa Clara. But it would cover 44 the state’s 58 counties and 361 of its 482 cities.

It would include contracts for everything from engineering and legal services to garbage collection and financial advice.

There are lots of reasons cities contract out service or might want to in the future. Most of them already contract with garbage …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

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