City Responds To Appeals Court Decision
As discussed in the previous entry, the Fourth District Court of Appeals today affirmed the preliminary injunction imposed by Judge Barbara Tam Nomoto Schumann. At the time of that post I had not heard from the City on this issue.
$495 PER HOUR LAWYER OPINES
Shortly after 2:00 p.m. today Communication Director Bill Lobdell issued the following statement:
After reviewing the Court of Appeals ruling today, Richard Grabowski, special counsel for the City of Costa Mesa, had this statement:
"The Court of Appeal's decision today recognizes that Costa Mesa has the authority to contract out jails, payroll and special services, and has remanded the case to the trial court for a trial on the merits. As the contracting out of these services is the fiscally prudent thing to do, the City looks forward to having its day in court on those issues."
Subsequently I spent a good amount of time reading through the actual opinion by the Court, trying to find the basis for Grabowski's final statement - and failed. Nowhere in the document produced by the Appeals Court do I find authorization to contract out jails, payroll and special services with the injunction in place.
THE METER KEEPS ON SPINNING
So far, in Fiscal Year 2011-2012 with additional charges still pending, Mr. Grabowski's firm - Jones Day - has billed the city for over $999,000 dollars.
COURT OF APPEAL DECISION
The actual document from the Fourth District Court of Appeals begins with the following statement:
"Plaintiff Costa Mesa City Employees' Association (CMCEA) represents workers who are employed by the City of Costa Mesa (the City). In response to the City's plan to contract out for a variety of city services, CMCEA filed suit against the City and its Chief Executive Officer Thomas Hatch (collectively defendants) for injunctive and declaratory relief. CMCEA contends the City's proposed outsourcing plan violates state law as well as the parties' collective bargaining agreement. Trial on the matter has not been heard, but on July 15, 2011, the trial court granted a preliminary injunction enjoining defendants from contracting with a private entity for any of the services that are performed by CMCEA members or laying off CMCEA members as a result of such contracting. In this appeal, the sole issue is the propriety of the preliminary injunction. Defendants contend it was improvidently granted, but we disagree and affirm the trial court's ruling."
LOTS OF CITATIONS
In between there are 20 pages of information, case citations expansions of their views which, over and over again, support the need for the preliminary injunction. At the end the judges conclude with this segment.
"At this point in the controversy, however, we are convinced CMCEA's members would suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a preliminary injunction, there is “some possibility” they will prevail on both their contract and statutory claims (which are independent grounds for relief), and the relative harm to the parties favors preliminary relief. Therefore, we will not disturb the trial court's decision to grant a preliminary injunction in CMCEA's favor."
Read the full Appeals Court Opinion HERE, thanks to the Daily Pilot.
DOOR SLAMMED ON MOST OUTSOURCING
So, now we wait until this case actually goes to trial. And, as I read the court's document today, the City MAY NOT proceed with any outsourcing that is not with another government agency. That means the Jail, for sure. We may hear more from contract City Attorney Tom Duarte at the council meeting scheduled for next Tuesday, August 21st.