A City Outsources Everything. Sky Doesn’t Fall
Posted in the Utica Forum
#1 Mar 23, 2013
By DAVID STREITFELD
While many communities are fearfully contemplating extensive cuts, Maywood says it is the first city in the nation in the current downturn to take an ax to everyone.
The school crossing guards were let go. Parking enforcement was contracted out, City Hall workers dismissed, street maintenance workers made redundant. The public safety duties of the Police Department were handed over to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
At first, people in this poor, long-troubled and heavily Hispanic city southeast of Los Angeles braced for anarchy.
Senior citizens were afraid they would be assaulted as they walked down the street. Parents worried the parks would be shut and their children would have nowhere to safely play. Landlords said their tenants had begun suggesting that without city-run services they would no longer feel obliged to pay rent.
The apocalypse never arrived. In fact, it seems this city was so bad at being a city that outsourcing — so far, at least — is being viewed as an act of municipal genius.
“We don’t want to be the model for other cities to lay off their employees,” said Magdalena Prado, a spokeswoman for the city who works on contract.“But our residents have been somewhat pleased.”
That includes Mayor Ana Rosa Rizo, who was gratified to see her husband get a parking ticket on July 1, hours after the Police Department had been disbanded. The ticket was issued by enforcement clerks for the neighboring city of Bell, which is being paid about $50,000 a month by Maywood to perform various services.
Maywood, which covers slightly more than one square mile, is one of the most densely populated cities in the country. The official population of 30,000 is believed to considerably understate the actual total of about 50,000.
It has some of the ills that plague other cities. Property taxes, a primary source of revenue, have declined to $900,000 from $1.2 million in 2007. Sales taxes have also dropped. But Maywood’s biggest problem by far has been its police department.
There are $19 million in claims pending against the police, which made it effectively impossible for the city to get insurance for any of its employees. If Maywood did not dismiss the municipal work force, officials said, bankruptcy would have been the only option. The total number of laid-off employees, including those in the Police Department, was about 60, city officials said.
The budget for the Police Department last year was nearly $8 million, more than half of Maywood’s revenues. The contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will cost about half of that. Insurance premiums for the city have fallen to $200,000 from $1 million.
The deputies have already engendered good will, Councilman Aguirre said, by cracking down on a local hotel that was a haven for prostitution.
And others said they have seen an increased police presence in the last few weeks.“The deputies are there right away,” said Maria Mendez, who has lived in Maywood for most of her 73 years.“Before you used to wait and wait for the police.”
One reason for the general enthusiasm might lie in the fact that many of the nonpolice workers have been rehired on contract, so in some cases the faces encountered by the public remain the same. In other words, no one has noticed much going wrong because there was not much to notice in the first place.
The five crossing guards, for instance, are doing the same work but are paid by a security company.
“Remember the Soviet Union?” said Hector Alvarado, who heads a civic advocacy group.“They had a lot of bureaucracy, and they lost. Maywood was like that. Now people know if they don’t work, they will be laid off. Much better this way.”
#4 Mar 24, 2013
Trashy, I concur with you!!
#5 Mar 25, 2013
This approached worked for this city. I googled the city and new press releases say this saved the city and tax payers.
#6 Mar 25, 2013
Maywood, California Fires All Town Employees, Outsources Everything: An Act Of 'Municipal Genius'?
First Posted: 09/19/10 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:05 PM ET
#7 Mar 25, 2013
I am very glad to hear this, Like many businesses They are Outsourcing This is a great Idea sent jobs overseas
#8 Mar 25, 2013
Just raise taxes
#9 Mar 30, 2013
It's time too consider the option
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