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LAGUNA BEACH : City Might Undertake Privatization Study

In a move that has some municipal workers concerned about job security, the City Council will consider launching a study to determine whether the city might benefit from having private companies perform some services now handled by public employees.

Councilman Steve Dicterow stated in an agenda item for next week’s council meeting that there is “a widespread concern among a broad cross-section of residents” that city government is either overstaffed or that some jobs now done by city workers could be “more effectively performed by contracting out for such services.”

Dicterow is recommending that the council create a task force to study the issue and to make recommendations.

Unnerved city workers had an emergency meeting Thursday to talk about Dicterow’s proposal.

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“I think it’s pretty crummy,” Planning Department secretary Lori Kritzer said. “It’s going to put a lot of people out of work.”

Joe Chiquete, vice president of the Laguna Beach Municipal Employees Assn., said some of the 40 employees at the meeting thought that workers should not overreact to a preliminary move such as the proposal for a task force. Others, however, want to speak out immediately against the idea of privatization.

The union will present its case to city officials at Tuesday’s council meeting, he said.


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