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City of Costa Mesa opts for more transparency in contracts… but only with public employees

A 405 Freeway ramp in Costa Mesa.
A 405 Freeway ramp in Costa Mesa.
Steven Damron/Flickr Creative Commons

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The Costa Mesa City Council approved a measure on Tuesday that proponents say significantly improves transparency on how taxpayer money is spent.

Citing the 75% of Costa Mesa’s general fund that’s spent on public employee contracts, the measure would bring in an independent negotiator any time a city worker is involved in a negotiation. Councilman Steve Mensinger says that’s because high level officials often work on contracts that can affect their own benefits down the line.

Additional transparency measures include publishing contract details 30 days before renegotiation starts, and posting proposed contracts on the city’s website a week ahead of council meetings where they will be reviewed. Labor groups say this bill unfairly targets public employees, and creates no accountability for private contractors.

If you’re an Orange County resident, do you favor these steps? Should cities go even further to control costs associated with public contracts? Or is this a lighter version of union busting?


Steve Mensinger, Council member, City of Costa Mesa

Nick Berardino, General Manager, Orange County Employees Association