California Town Slashes Public Services, Destroys Jobs

In another massive slashing of services and destruction of public service jobs, the California town of Costa Mesa is laying off nearly half its public workforce and outsourcing some key city services.

Late last week, 200 of the city's 450 workers were told that they would lose their jobs in September, according to the New York Times. Nearly every city department will be eliminated. More than a dozen tasks will be outsourced, including graffiti removal, firefighting, building maintenance and street cleaning.

But many see this move as political payback, not a real budget crisis, much like the power grabs in Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan. They point out that the drive to outsource the jobs was led by a City Council member who fought a bruising battle against unions in his bid for office.

Wendy Leece, the only Council member to vote against the layoffs and a lifelong Republican, told the Times her colleagues were acting "recklessly."

The sky isn't falling, but there is a real effort by some to exaggerate the crisis.

Helen Nenadal, who has worked in the city's maintenance department for more than 30 years, added:

They should have been thinking from the very beginning what kind of cost saving they were going to get before doing this. They are on their mission.

AFL-CIO Now Blog, Thurs Mar 24 2011
Byline: James Parks

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