Monday, July 18, 2011

Judge Affirms "Outsourcing" Preliminary Injunction (Amended)*

As announced this morning by Managing Editor Norberto Santana, Jr., in the Voice of OC blog, HERE, Judge Barbara Tam Nomoto Schumann has issued an order prohibiting the City of Costa Mesa from laying off City employees until the case filed by the Orange County Employee's Association is heard. According to that article, no trial date is set at this time.

The OCEA, through it's spokeswoman, Jennifer Muir, issued the following Press Release today:

Judge issues order stopping Costa Mesa layoffs

SANTA ANA, CA – A Superior Court judge has issued an order prohibiting the City of Costa Mesa from laying off City employees pursuant to outsourcing their jobs to the private sector.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Tam Nomoto Schumann issued the preliminary injunction late Friday following a verbal ruling July 5. After the Court’s July 5 ruling, the City issued a press release erroneously claiming that Judge Schumann’s ruling would expressly allow layoffs so long as the City followed “proper procedures.”

Judge Schumann rejected a request by the city to allow it to lay off City employees if it followed “proper procedures.” Instead, the order very clearly prohibits the city from contracting out services currently performed by City employees to any non-local public entity under the Government Code, and further prohibits the City from laying off City employees pursuant to any such contracting out.

“We respect the judge’s ruling, and we hope the City Council and CEO Tom Hatch will do the same,” OCEA spokeswoman Jennifer Muir said. “The ruling has been clear from the beginning, and we’re hopeful that now that it has been issued, the written order will clear up any confusion caused by the City’s press release.”

Nearly half the City’s workforce received six-month layoff notices on March 17 after the Costa Mesa City Council majority voted to outsource their jobs. At the time, the City Council had not studied the cost of outsourcing or the negative impacts to community services, and they still have failed to do so.

The Orange County Employees Association, on behalf of the Costa Mesa City Employees Association, filed a lawsuit in May to stop the layoffs.

Attached, please find the order for a preliminary injunction, the judge’s minute order, the City’s July 5 press release, and a copy of the City’s proposed injunction language, which was rejected by the Court.


I tried to contact representatives of the City of Costa Mesa for comment but was unable to reach anyone before I published this. I imagine word from the City will be forthcoming later today. When it does I'll report it.


The following is the response to the ruling by the judge, issued in the form a press release by Interim Communication Director Bill Lobdell late this afternoon:

Judge temporarily prohibits Costa Mesa from outsourcing jobs to private
companies until lawsuit is heard; contracting to public agencies OK

—Orange County Superior Court Judge Tam Nomoto Schumann issued a preliminary injunction late last week prohibiting the City of Costa Mesa from outsourcing jobs to private companies until a lawsuit filed against the City by the Costa Mesa City Employees Assn. (CMCEA) is heard.

No trial date has been set for the civil suit, which seeks to halt the outsourcing plan. The ruling doesn’t prohibit the City from contracting jobs with the County of Orange, neighboring cities and other public agencies or exploring the viability of outsourcing services to private companies.

The ruling also doesn’t affect a proposal by the Orange County Fire Authority to provide fire services for Costa Mesa and hire all City firefighters. The Costa Mesa Firefighters Assn. employees are not covered in the injunction.

The written injunction clarified initial remarks made at a hearing on July 5 by Judge Schumann, who said at the time: “So as far as the City’s ability to explore other avenues of perhaps fiscal soundness, I do not think that this injunction extends to preventing the City from doing that as long as they do not terminate folks without following the proper procedures.”

Schumann did not make a reference to halting outsourcing to private companies until a verdict was reached in the CMCEA lawsuit (see transcript below).

The City Attorney’s Office had originally interpreted the judge’s oral remarks to mean that the outsourcing process—including the potential contracting of jobs to private companies—could continue as long as the City could show that it had followed “proper procedures.”

“The injunction makes it clear that the judge has ordered the City to not outsource jobs to private companies until the CMCEA lawsuit is concluded,” City Attorney Tom Duarte said. “We respect her decision and are now looking at our next legal options.”

In March, the City Council voted to send six-month layoff notices to 213 city employees—more than 40% of its workforce. The Council wanted to explore the viability of outsourcing to stem rising pension costs, among other concerns. Because of contracts with employees’ association, the City was mandated to give six-month warnings for any outsourced job.

Read the Court Reporter's Transcript of the July 5, 2011 court date HERE. This should download a pdf file to your desktop.

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Anonymous Robert said...

I can't wait to see what the spin will be. It will be entertaining for sure as it will not be based on reality...

7/18/2011 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

The party line later today:

"The judge didn't say there was no budget crisis, only stuff about procedures. We still have a crisis and we will still need to go full steam ahead somehow, some way. The judge got it wrong. Only The RiggMarshal knows what's right for Costa Mesa."

Spin, Lobdell, spin!

7/18/2011 01:48:00 PM  
Anonymous WWrigD said...

CM Press Release:

Rig asks City CEO to cut more cops and transfer funds to the legal fees fund..ASAP

7/18/2011 02:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Pentagon Hexagram said...

Prediction on Costa Mesa Ministry of Truth out with their spin.

Judge's ruling validates City's position, doubles amount of bond required to cover potential loss by City.

Ruling by this liberal judge will be appealed.

All outsourcing studies will continue.

Reinforcements added to Ministry of Truth and legal team, because the union made us do it.

Meanwhile, beatings will continue until morale improves.

7/18/2011 03:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Terry Koken said...

Hey, Geoff--
If there's enough of a crowd at the Tuesday meeting, I've got another little melody for them. This one has a chorus that everybody can join in to, even the city councilmen.

Good news, though, tends to decrease attendance at meetings, I've noticed, and THIS is REALLY good news.

7/18/2011 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Looking forward!

7/18/2011 04:31:00 PM  
Anonymous well obviously... said...

The next press release:

"Judge's ruling does not mean we cannot outsource the city council to other public entities. As many members of the public are already aware, the Costa Mesa city council is in the top third of their counterparts in total compensation and we just can't stand for that anymore either. Nobody should get paid that much no matter what their part-time job is and as we all know from the private sector running a city like a business means that volunteers (i.e. council members) do not get paid."

Thoughtfully serving the public,
The 5th Floor Thought Bureau

7/18/2011 05:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...

These Press Releases are hilarious! You've nailed the voice of the Rigged council.

Who'd have thought that the recent abominations would have spawned a crew of people who could go forth even unto other cities and help them spin their dodgy decisions? (And make a mint at the same time.)

7/18/2011 07:57:00 PM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

I want a job where you can give bad and most of time, wrong advice. Then when you get called to the carpet, you get paid to argue that, “The advice was only a suggestion” and “I have no control over how others interpret or use that advice”... NOW SIGN THE DAMN CHECK!!!!

GOD... I love capitalism.

7/18/2011 10:57:00 PM  
Anonymous sky stopped fallingwow said...

wow, did anyone else catch the channel 9 news at noon when PERS released they had their best return in 14 years with a 23 billion dollar return on all investments... now what maybe the bell 4 should have pers do their investing fore them an solve all the citys problems........

7/18/2011 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Here's the link to the CalPERS Press Release:

Pretty impressive news, for sure.

7/18/2011 11:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Danny Boy said...

Hey Lobdell- Where is the City Press Release on the website?

7/19/2011 05:12:00 AM  

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