The debate goes on about whether or not City Council should have met in closed session to discuss potential police outsourcing. In the meantime, city staff has released the two proposals City Council discussed.

City Council decided not to pursue outsourcing police services after meeting in a closed session meeting earlier this month. The meeting was held with a consultant engaged to review police outsourcing in the community. Proposals from both the County of San Mateo Sheriff's Office and the city of South San Francisco were reviewed.

Director of Administrative Services Ann Ritzma and the City Attorney Michelle Kenyon said closed session was the right place to discuss the potential police outsourcing.

"Any time a city contemplates contracting out union work, they are required to give direction to their labor bargaining team in a closed session," Ritzma said. "If City Council decided to do it, it would be negotiated at the table with the labor unions. The City Council decided not to contract out, therefore it is no longer a closed session item."

The City Attorney said City Council met to discuss labor negotiations on several dates.

"The sheriff's proposal and the proposal from South San Francisco are public record and we are going to make them available to the public. There was a request for the public record and it was released," she said.

Jim Ewert, general counsel of the California Newspaper Publishers Association, and  Terry Francke, general counsel for Californians Aware, said the decision to hear that matter in closed session was not appropriate.

"Closed session is authorized for hearing reports from the city labor negotiator and giving further instruction about things that are being bargained," Francke said. "Whether or not the city hopes to outsource police services is not a bargainable issue. That is not something they are required to negotiate with employees. That's up to their discretion. I don't believe that topic belongs in closed session."


Posted by Steve Sinai