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Orange County, CA November 6, 2012 Election
Smart Voter

COIN (Civic openness in Negotiations)

By Steve Mensinger

Candidate for Council Member; City of Costa Mesa

This information is provided by the candidate
This is the first City ordinance in California that creates transparency in labor negotiations.
The proposed Civic Openness in Negotiations (COIN) ordinance--an unprecedented piece of municipal legislation--would bring maximum transparency to city labor negotiations, which have been traditionally done outside of  public view and with little chance for the public to review the contracts prior to their approval. In Costa Mesa, public employee contracts make up nearly 75% of its general fund budget. With the COIN ordinance in place, the City would be required to: Hire an independent negotiator to represent the City;

Have an independent auditor determine the fiscal impacts of each benefit listed in the employee association's current contract and publish a report of that analysis at least 30 days before negotiations begin for a new contract;

Produce a public report that details the fiscal impacts of each proposal for new contracts compared to the current contract;

During each round of negotiations, have council members acknowledge in writing that they read and considered the report detailing the fiscal impacts of each offer;

Have the City Council publicly report from closed sessions any portion of the negotiations--along with their fiscal impacts--that are no longer being considered;

Allow the public to review and comment on proposed employee contracts during at least two City Council meetings prior to a vote; anD

Place the proposed employee contracts and any related materials on the City's website at least seven days before the first council meeting where the proposed contracts will be on the agenda.

I am proposing the COIN ordinance to provide the public with more insight and opportunity for input into the public employee labor contracts, which take up the vast majority of the City's budget. He's also hopeful that the COIN ordinance will be duplicated through California and the nation, providing taxpayers with maximum transparency on contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. "If the COIN ordinance was in place for the past 20 years, I doubt cities, counties and states would be in the financial mess they find themselves in today," Mensinger said. "The public needs to be armed with knowledge and know exactly what's being negotiated in their name."

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