Orange County Superior Court Judge Tam Nomoto Schumann ruled that the City Council cannot go forward with any layoffs until a case brought by the Orange County Employees Association is heard. There is, as of yet, no trial date set for OCEA’s case.
The employees union has argued that the plan approved by the City Council in March violates state law because general law cities are not allowed to outsource services to the private sector. City attorneys argue that employee contracts do allow outsourcing.
Nomoto overruled city objections to the restrictive language against the layoffs proposed by OCEA attorneys. She also resisted city arguments that a $2-million bond be paid by OCEA to secure the order until trial, opting instead for a $50,000 bond.
The bond amount is linked to potential damages in the case. City officials argued delays of the outsourcing would cost the city money. Union officials argued that the city’s proposed bond amount couldn’t be justified because officials have no clear plans to outsource anything.
City attorneys objected to the following language proposed by OCEA attorneys to enjoin the city from:
1. Contracting out to any entity which is not a “Local Agency” within the meaning of California Government Code Section 54980 for services currently performed by City of Costa Mesa employees represented by the Plaintiff Association and 2. laying off City of Costa Mesa employees represented by the Plaintiff Association as a result of contracting out to any enity which is not a “Local Agency” within the meaning of California Government Code Section 54980 for those services currently performed by such City of Costa Mesa employees.
City attorneys asked the judge for different language, seeking instead a general restriction reading:
Defendants are [preliminarily] enjoined from laying off city employees represented by the Plaintiff Association unless proper procedures are followed.
— NORBERTO SANTANA JR.