The Newport Beach City Council on Tuesday is likely to pass an ordinance exempting public works projects from a prevailing-wage requirement.
The change would allow construction companies to bid on city jobs without paying their workers the state-regulated wage.
Newport Beach is following the lead of Vista, the San Diego County city that won a state Supreme Court ruling in July. Charter cities, the court ruled, can sign public works contracts without adhering to this particular state law.
Costa Mesa voters will decide in November whether the city should switch to a charter form of government, a change supported by City Council members who also want to save on public works contracts.
In another employee compensation issue, the Newport council will likely approve a new contract with the Newport Beach Police Management Assn., which represents the city's 33 top cops, save for the chief and deputy chief.
The new contract requires police managers to take more out of their paychecks to fund their pensions in exchange for a salary increase, better medical benefits and a cost-of-living pay increase.
Currently, the city counts some of its retirement payments toward employee compensation, thus inflating the final salary number used in pension calculations. That practice would end.
Also, newly hired police managers would get a less-generous pension plan. They will be able to retire at age 55 with 3% of their earnings for each year worked at department, with a cap at 90% of their highest earnings averaged over three years. Current employees will still be able to retire at 50 with up to 90% of their final year of earnings.
A city report expects the police association changes will save the city $40,000 over the duration of the contract, which ends in 2014.