State Supreme Court Backs Injunction Against Outsourcing

California’s Supreme Court on Wednesday weighed in on the outsourcing controversy in Costa Mesa, denying a request by city officials to overturn an Orange County Superior Court injunction blocking a mass layoff attempted in March 2011.

The court also has denied a city request to de-publish an August appellate court opinion that upheld the Superior Court’s original July injunction.

That means that Costa Mesa’s council majority — which sought to use the mass layoff notices as a way to privatize City Hall operations — actually has established case law that strengthens outsourcing protections for public workers across California.

According to city estimates, legal bills for the city in the outsourcing battle have topped $1.1 million.

This week’s legal decision comes just after Costa Mesa’s City Council instructed city CEO Tom Hatch to research the proper procedure for rescinding the layoff notices.

Following a resounding loss in this month’s election of a ballot measure that would have set up Costa Mesa as a charter city with a heavy emphasis on outsourcing, Councilman Jim Righeimer, leader of the majority, announced that city officials instead would attempt to cooperate with union officials to streamline government services.

The mass layoffs have dominated Costa Mesa government and politics for most of the last year.

While Costa Mesa’s aggressive approach netted congratulations from the Orange County Republican Party, it didn’t catch on with other cities, especially after organized labor aggressively confronted the council majority with an expensive mail, television and Internet advertising campaign.