After blaming his predecessors for mishandling the city’s pension and benefit system, outlining his dedication to work with the city’s labor unions, and praising the hard work and sacrifice from city employees, Mayor Jerry Sanders detailed his plans toward privatization of city government in his fourth state-of-the-city speech on January 14.
The first step in the process, said Sanders, is the implementation of the “business process reengineering program.” Over the past two years — since 60 percent of voters passed Proposition C in 2006, which allows private organizations a chance to compete with city departments for contracts — San Diego’s employees and department heads have been streamlining city operations so they will have a shot at competing with private organizations...essentially trying to secure their jobs for the future.
In his speech, Sanders said the reengineering initiative “has been a huge success, squeezing millions of dollars from city operations by working with employees to rethink their jobs.”
In the upcoming months, Sanders plans on delivering the second half of his privatization agenda to San Diego city councilmembers. The “managed competition guide,” according to the mayor, “will set the stage for competition in the form of open bidding and a free-market comparison of the costs of city services,” said Sanders. “I believe our employees can win most, if not all, of these competitions by reducing costs to private-sector levels.”
The success of the “business process reengineering program” and the implementation of managed competition has seen more competition than the mayor would have liked.
Over the past two years, the mayor’s managed competition has been bogged down by opposition from the labor unions and because of a controversy over the amount of money set aside for outside privatization consultant, Grant Thornton.
In his speech, Mayor Sanders tried to assure city employees that his “managed competition” plan is a good thing. “A sad reality is resistance to city reforms is often driven by fear, but the truth is they are the surest path to a stable and secure workplace.”
For more on the mayor’s speech, or for more on “managed competition,” go to sandiego.gov.