Transparency ordinance returns

The Costa Mesa City Council on Tuesday will take a second look at an ordinance that could make sections of negotiations between employee associations and management available to the public.

Under the proposed Civic Openness in Negotiations (COIN) ordinance, residents could hear about and give input on offers and counter-offers for changes in wages and hours, among other things, during contract negotiations between the city and its employee groups, such as police and firefighters and non-safety personnel.

The city would also have to establish a principal negotiator and lay out the costs of current employee contracts by provision.

In its first reading Aug. 21, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer proposed that the ordinance emphasize the costs in a year-by-year basis.

"For too many years, the general public had no clue what these contracts contained, and what the impact on the budget is," Mensinger said during the meeting. "All we're doing is shedding light on the process … you know the cost, and you know the component of the costs. We owe it to the taxpayers."

Residents at that meeting agreed with COIN's general idea, but said it did not go far enough.

"If we're going to do it one way, we should do it 100%," Leece said at the last council meeting. "I think it only goes halfway. It's not complete in its transparency."

COIN's critics would like to see other negotiations, such as those private companies, made more public.

According to the ordinance, an independent financial auditor would value the contracts 30 days prior to being negotiated. The cost of this service is unknown.

If adopted, the ordinance would require that any matters related to the negotiations be heard at least two council meetings before being approved.


Permit Parking

Also on Tuesday's agenda is a petition from Ballow Lane residents for residents-only permit parking.

A Transportation Services Division study found that non-resident vehicles consistently occupied more than 50% of Ballow Lane's parking spaces and more than 40% of those were for periods great than 24 hours.

The study said nearby multi-family homes could be the cause. The neighborhood is near the Farm Complex and Costa Mesa High School.

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