Orange County supervisors on Tuesday soundly rejected a proposal to amend the county charter to allow for greater outsourcing of government jobs, barely even allowing a brief public discussion of the issue.
Two county supervisors seeking election this November to the state senate — Pat Bates and the OC GOP Elected Official of the Year Janet Nguyen — barely even uttered a word from the dais about the idea to outsource government work to the private sector, other than to quietly indicate they didn’t support the idea.
County Supervisor John Moorlach – who is finishing his second and final term this year – said he felt election-year jitters likely prevented his colleagues from taking a vote or dealing with the issue publicly.
“The drift was, ‘John, we have an election in November, and our priority is to get people elected,” Moorlach said was the message he got from his colleagues.
“I said, my priority is to give taxpayers tools to balance budgets. That’s what I came here for. I came here to hunt for Bear. Not to swat flies.”
Moorlach told other supervisors about his idea just this last week, saying it was part of his original goal to enact charter reform. But, there seemed to be little appetite for an initiative that would be seen as an attempt at union busting to go alongside Bates and Nguyen on the November ballot.
“I sensed that the political priority was probably going to override, but I wasn’t sure, so the only way to find out was to move forward, explain it and watch the dance,” Moorlach said.
Supervisor Todd Spitzer was the only audible voice from the majority on the daise Tuesday.
“I’m excited that you brought it forward,” Spitzer said. “But I’m not sure what I’m trying to fix yet.”
Spitzer suggested the debate was better for a charter review commission. “I just don’t’ have enough information to support it,” he said.
While Supervisors’ Chairman Shawn Nelson was the only supervisor to offer Moorlach a second to his motion, thus allowing debate, he said the measure’s timing was off.
Asking colleagues to engage in a ballot measure on the last day to qualify just didn’t give them enough time, Nelson said.
“John is running out of time. He doesn’t get another bite at the apple. I understand he’s frustrated,” Nelson said.
“I was willing to give him a second. But it didn’t have any legs.”
One Moorlach proposal that did end up with enough legs on Tuesday was his proposal to make labor deals public before a final vote by county supervisors.
While Moorlach’s colleagues balked earlier this month at approving his Civic Openness In Negotiations (COIN) ordinance, they did give final unanimous approval to the measure Tuesday.