Supervisors Postpone Decision on Suspending of Labor Negotiations Law

Orange County supervisors this week delayed their public discussion and vote on suspending their local labor negotiations law COIN, parts of which were invalidated by a judge.

Just after Tuesday’s closed session portion of their meeting, Chairman Todd Spitzer asked his colleagues for a postponement of the item to Aug. 25, and made only one brief comment.

“We need further analysis,” said Spitzer, who was the sole supervisor to address the delay.  The postponement passed 4-0, with Bartlett absent.

In his staff report, County Counsel Leon Page says the suspension is necessary to protect the county from further legal liability.

“In order to avoid claims of a failure to negotiate promptly upon request…staff recommends that the Board” suspend the ordinance until the litigation surrounding it has finished, Page wrote.

COIN, which stands for Civic Openness in Negotiations, requires public disclosure of offers and counter-offers during supervisors’ negotiations with public employee unions, and the posting of proposed agreements 30 days in advance of voting on their approval, among other things.

Last month, the state’s Public Employment Relations Board ruled that county supervisors violated labor laws because COIN imposed new requirements on employee negotiations without giving unions a chance to negotiate about the changes ahead of time.

If the ruling stands, the county would have to repeal four key sections of COIN, including public reporting of offers and counteroffers, disclosure of what took place during labor negotiation sessions, a 30-day non-negotiations period before supervisors consider opening proposals to labor groups.

The county has since asked the full PERB board to overturn the ruling, taking issue with many of its conclusions.

You can contact Nick Gerda at, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.