POLITICS: KILLING THE GOLDEN GOOSE

 Am I Next? California. Killing the Golden Goose. AB 1250

The two greatest threats to our communities, states, and our nation are political corruption and the rise of the self-serving “professional politician.”

Politics is not a “team sport” where you support and root for one side, but a serious business that can affect your life and future. It has been often said that the wisest course of action is to vote, not for your political party and not for activist-led special interests, but for the prudent, common sense, politician who understands that government is not and should not be a self-perpetuating business putting its own existence and needs before the needs of the people they purport to serve.

Here in the formerly golden State of California, we see a perilous precedent develop in California’s legislature with the introduction and promotion of Assembly Bill A.B. 1250 which affects “Counties: Contracts for Personal Services.”

Mostly this bill is designed to prevent counties from contracting services to those best qualified in the private sector in favor of keeping these jobs within the government and staffed by unionized workers whose salaries, perks, medical, and pensions are slowly bankrupting government entities on all levels: local, state, and national.

Proposed Law: AB 1250 would establish standards for the use of personal services contracts by counties, specify contractor disclosure requirements, and identify circumstances under which a county may contract for services. My comments appear in [brackets.]

Specifically, this bill would do the following:

"Prohibit a county from contracting for personal services currently or customarily performed by that county’s employees unless it makes specified findings, and all of the following conditions are met:

  • The board of supervisors demonstrates that the contract will result in cost savings for the duration of the contract, as compared with the county’s actual costs of providing the same services. [Since many of the government's costs are artificially created, it may be impossible to verify the underlying data or methodology of computing such costs.]
  • Contract proposals are not solely based on savings related to lower contractor pay rates or benefits, and contractor wages are at the industry’s level and do not undercut county pay rates. [This provision keeps wages artificially high and at the level of county workers to eliminate any significant cost savings to perform the work in the private sector.]
  • The contract does not displace county employees, as specified, or cause vacant positions to remain unfilled. [This is nonsensical because the goal is cost-savings beneficial to the taxpayers and not a full employment opportunity act for unionized government workers.]
  • Contract savings are large enough to ensure they will not be eliminated by normal cost fluctuations, the amount of savings clearly justifies the size and duration of the agreement, and the potential for future economic risk to the county from rate increases is minimal. [There will always be some form of adjustment that must be made to deal with unforeseen economic circumstances like the shortage of materials, etc.] 
  • The economic advantage of contracting is not outweighed by the public’s interest in having a function performed directly by county government. [The public is not well-served by overpaid and non-productive government workers who are immune from being fired for malfeasance and incompetence.]
  • The contract is with a “firm,” it may be terminated by the county for material breach, it is awarded through a public competitive bid process, and it includes provisions pertaining to the qualifications of the staff that will perform the work. [It is amazing that the qualifications to perform work do not similarly apply to government workers, many of whom are grossly unqualified for the jobs they hold.]"

Of course, the politicians who introduced the legislation saw fit to exempt the City and County of San Francisco from the bill’s provisions and ensure that the legislation does not impact current government services.

Specify that the bill does not apply to contracts for architectural or engineering services, public transit, street sweeping, solid waste hauling, or construction, alteration, demolition, installation, repair, or maintenance work that is considered a public works project.”

For those wishing to read AB 1250 in full and in context, it can be found here.