County to Consider Opening Up Labor Negotiations

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At the request of Supervisor John Moorlach, county supervisors are set to consider new requirements for opening labor negotiations to the public.

Under the Civic Openness in Negotiations ordinance, also known as COIN, county supervisors would be required to publicly report any offers and counteroffers discussed in closed session. Supervisors and their staff would also have to report any communication with employee representatives.

When a labor contract is proposed, the county Auditor-Controller would estimate the financial impact of its terms as well as the current contract’s terms, which would then be open to comment from labor groups and the public.

And proposed labor contracts, known as memorandums of understanding, would be posted to the county website at least seven days before it appears on the supervisors’ agenda.

A similar ordinance was approved in Costa Mesa in 2012, where Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger says it makes sense from a taxpayer standpoint.

The county’s largest employees union, meanwhile, says they support transparency efforts across the board, which they believe should also apply to negotiations with private sector contractors.

“We think it’s critical for an effective policy to cover contracts with the outside, for-profit companies that receive public money — often with the help of politically connected lobbyists, as well as contracts with the county’s public workforce,” Jennifer Muir, the assistant general manager for the Orange County Employees Association, told the Daily Pilot.

The county supervisors meeting starts Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. Click here for the ordinance’s staff report and documents.

You can reach Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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