On Tuesday, the Costa Mesa City Council unanimously approved a new ordinance that would radically alter how labor negotiations are reported to the public, and who would be involved.
The policy, originally called COIN – or Civic Openness in Negotiations – calls for the city to publicly report what proposals have been taken off the table during the course of the closed-door labor negotiations. It would also require public comment at two successive council meetings before the terms of a new contract could be approved.
COIN would also change who handles negotiations for the city. In many cases, high-ranking city officials actually benefit from labor negotiations where they represent the city. Councilman Steve Mensinger, who proposed COIN, saw that as a potential conflict of interest. Now, an independent negotiator hired specifically to represent the interests of the city will handle negotiations.
Also new with COIN is a fiduciary analysis of both the current contract and the proposed changes. The analysis of current contracts is due 30 days before negotiations begin.
Some residents say that the policy doesn’t go far enough towards transparency. Unions call it selective transparency. But according to Mensinger, other municipalities are calling for more information about the policy as they look to implement a similar program at home.
Read the full article at the Orange County Register.