On the Agenda

Here’s a rundown of the main issues we’ll be tracking this week throughout Orange County.

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Main County Labor Deal Goes to Supervisors

After nearly two years of negotiations, a new labor deal is up for approval for the 12,000 county workers represented by the Orange County Employees Association.

The deal, which would run through June 25, 2015, calls for a 1.25-percent salary increase and a one-time payment of 1.25-percent of salary next month.

Other changes to health insurance, noncashable time off and premium pay for confidential employees are expected to reduce public costs by $15.6 million over the next three fiscal years.

The salary bump and one-time payment are expected to cost $37.8 million over the same period.

Overall, the new agreement is projected to cost the county $7.4 million per year.

Also up for approval Tuesday is an agreement with the International Union of Operating Engineers for new craft and plant engineers to pay the reverse pickup of their 2.7 percent at 55 pension plans.

Tuesday’s meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. at the county Hall of Administration. Click here for the staff report.

Anaheim Debates Lobbyist’s Fate

On the heels of a record-breaking state fine against its lobbying firm, Anaheim city leaders are set to decide what to do about their contract.

Sloat, Higgins, Jensen & Associates and its founder Kevin Sloat were recently fined $133,500 by the state Fair Political Practices Commission for illegally providing state legislators with liquor, wine, cigars, sports tickets and flowers.

That led Orange County Transportation Authority board members to fire the firm earlier this month, with Director Jeff Lalloway saying the violation “goes to the very essence of what they do for us here.”

Now, the Anaheim City Council is set to discuss its $150,000-per-year contract with Sloat Higgins.

Similarly to OCTA, Anaheim city staff have not recommended that Sloat Higgins be fired, with Deputy City Manager Greg Garcia writing that the firm is “critically important” to Anaheim’s objectives in Sacramento.

City staff notes that Sloat Higgins lobbyist Moira Topp has been working on the city’s legislative goals for issues like protecting “local control in land use decisions … economic development, CEQA [California Environmental Quality Act] reform, medical marijuana, neighborhood issues, state budget issues and legislation impacting local transient occupancy taxes.”

The city staff report, however, doesn’t mention OCTA’s recent firing of the firm.

Meanwhile, the OCTA board is set to approve releasing a request for bids to replace Sloat Higgins on Monday.

Tuesday’s City Council meeting starts at 5 p.m. at Anaheim City Hall.

Ambulance Contracts Up for County Debate

As county officials take over the bidding process for ambulance service in most Orange County cities, county supervisors are set to begin giving policy direction on Tuesday about what those contracts should look like.

A central question has been whether ambulance companies or the Orange County Fire Authority will send patients a bill for a $388 “advanced life support” fee charged for the cost of Fire Authority paramedics responding to emergency calls.

When the issue last came to the board on March 4, two county supervisors sharply questioned the fee’s very existence.

The debate comes as county officials gear up to take over the ambulance contracting process from the Fire Authority in 19 cities.

That came as the result of a state determination that the county had improperly allowed the Fire Authority to oversee too much of the process.

As part of its new role, the county must submit its request for proposals for the 19 cities’ ambulance services to state officials for approval.

Another question will be who should constitute the panel that ranks the companies competing to provide the ambulance services.

State officials are requiring the highest-ranked bidders to be awarded the ambulance contracts. Supervisor Todd Spitzer has suggested placing supervisors themselves on the review panel.

Tuesday’s meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. at the county Hall of Administration.

Major Meetings This Week:




Adam Elmahrek and Rex Dalton contributed to this post.

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

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