Sanders pushes for managed competition

By James R. Riffel

City News Service

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders Thursday urged members of the new City Council to support his managed competition money-saving plan.

On Monday, the City Council will consider putting San Diego’s information technology and copying services up for bid.

Sanders said bidding out the city’s $37 million IT function could save $10 million. A small portion of IT services were bid out earlier this year, generating $1.2 million in savings, he said.

“They’ll allow us to dedicate our funds into essential city services like police and fire protection and street repair,” Sanders said.

Affected employees can put together their own bid to keep the service — and their jobs — with the city.

If an outside firm is chosen, the city will try to absorb the workers into other divisions, Sanders said.

The mayor plans to put the city’s Fleet Services division up for bids next month.

He also wants an initiative placed on the ballot that would allow the city to offer new employees a 401(k)-style retirement plan instead of the current guaranteed pension.

“I believe our council members agree we need to take every opportunity to stretch the dollars the taxpayers entrust to us, and I urge them to move these reforms forward,” Sanders said.

San Diego voters approved the managed competition concept in 2006, but simultaneously elected council members who were hostile to the idea, leading to years of delays.

The eight-member City Council will have two new members on Monday, including Lorie Zapf, raising the number of conservatives who have said they support the mayor’s plans from two to three.