City bidding process needs upgrade, study says
Published - 06/19/14 - 09:45 AM | 3569 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith calls for more effective relationships between business and labor.
Former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith calls for more effective relationships between business and labor.
San Diego's voter-approved competitive bidding process known as "managed competition" needs to be reformed, according to a consultant's study presented Wednesday, June 18 to the City Council's budget committee.

The study is the last of five by a group led by former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith that looked into improving efficiency in various municipal functions. The committee voted unanimously to forward the report to the full City Council.

The managed competition process can be beneficial to the city and employees but became unwieldy and contentious, limiting any potential good, the report says.

The city began taking bids on various functions in 2010 and saved $9 million annually. However, it drew opposition from organized labor and was suspended by former Mayor Bob Filner.

Goldsmith's study found, among other things, that a reliance on managed competition has limited the implementation of other reform tools; a "robust flow of efficiency and effectiveness innovations" from the private sector has been stymied with municipal employees winning all the bids so far; and debate over the program has focused on who loses, not on creating win-win opportunities.

His two dozen recommendations include forming a more effective partnership between the city and organized labor; streamlining the process so it includes fewer steps to complete; creating a financial “up side” for affected employees; and making managed competition part of an overall efficiency initiative.

"It is my hope,” City Council president Todd Gloria said, “this study will pave a path forward to reform our managed competition program and to look at other ways to streamline and improve city processes while generating savings that can be reinvested in neighborhood services.”

Last week, Faulconer proposed establishing rewards for employees who come forward with ideas for saving money and improving services. Gloria said he backs Faulconer's plan and is "committed to cultivating efficiencies and moving forward with appropriate fiscal reforms beyond managed competition. We should continue to work together to implement other innovations and reforms that achieve cost savings.”

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