Leece Asks Council To Review Private EMS and Outsourcing
In a move guaranteed to give an emotional wedgie to her peers on the dais, Costa Mesa City Councilwoman Wendy Leece has formally requested a "Review" of two controversial items that were approved by the council at it's March 1st meeting.
She asked for the "Outsourcing Of City Services" to be reviewed for possible re-hearing because:
1) Insufficient notice was given to the public;
2) The report was not sufficient to include financial data to identify cost savings;
3) Many residents have complained that they could not understand the complexities and outcomes due to insufficient information;
4) That the decision to move forward may be in violation of employee contracts and
5) Because the legal opinion was given to the council only one hour before the meeting there was insufficient time to review and consult with the City Attorney.
PRIVATE EMS SERVICE
The second item is the decision to explore the possible Privatizing of Emergency Medical Services - Paramedic in our city. She cites as the reasons for her request to Review this item as:
1) Insufficient public notice - the report did not come out until Friday afternoon before the Tuesday council meeting;
2) Many residents have complained to her that they had insufficient time to review the report and to arrange to attend the meeting;
3) She had insufficient time to review and discuss the legal opinion with the City Attorney since it was received only a few minutes before the meeting;
4) Taking the approved action may be in violation of anti-trust statutes and employment contracts and may increase the City's liability.
NEW BUSINESS ON 3/15/11
Both of these items will appear under New Business at the City Council meeting that begins at 6:00 p.m. on March 15, 2011. The council will hear Leece's reasoning behind requesting a re-hearing and there will be an opportunity for the public comment on the request for re-hearings only, not the substance of the issues, before they vote to either conduct a re-hearing or not.
OCFA TO PRESENT PROPOSAL AT STUDY SESSION TUESDAY
At its Study Session at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8, 2011, the City Council will hear the presentation by members of the Orange County Fire Authority of their proposal to take over providing Fire and Paramedic services for Costa Mesa. As we've discussed before, while there appears to be some savings involved by contracting with the OCFA, the proposal has HUGE holes in it that could make the financial considerations much less desirable for the city.
We don't know what kind of a turnout to expect, but it sure wouldn't surprise me to have this session shifted to the council chambers - as was the case of the last one - to accommodate all the interested residents and employees eager to hear first hand just what this plan will mean to them. If the study session is held in Conference Room 1A as planned there will be NO live television coverage - only a taped delay later in the week. In Study Sessions public comments are very limited - only a few minutes TOTAL are set aside - so this will be more of a "sit and listen" event. I also don't know if members of the Costa Mesa Fire Department will participate, even though many of them have much to lose if this plan is implemented as proposed.
OCFA PENSION SHORTFALL IMPACT UNKNOWN
Another unknown is the impact on this proposal of the recent disclosure that pension contributions for the OCFA have been dramatically under-funded, and that the organization will be required to pony up tens of millions of dollars to make the deficit whole.
PAVEMENT MANAGEMENT OVERVIEW?
The council will also hear about the "Pavement Management Overview", but we have absolutely no clue what that's all about because no staff report is available for review at this time.