Imagine no city employees, it’s easy if you try…

Here’s one for the “WTF?” file.
Highly followed blogger “MISH” recently posted that in his ideal world there would be no city government employees. Zero. Zip. Zilch.

His line of thinking is that we could outsource everything to private companies and get better, and cheaper, services. 

Need a cop? Call the for-fee protection company. House on fire? Call the for-fee protection company.  Want someone to teach your kids? Call the for-fee protection …um…education company. Pothole on your street? Call the for-fee protection…um…street fixing company. Have a planning and zoning issue? Call the for-fee protection…um….planning corporation. Have a complaint about the sewer? Call the for-fee protection…um…sewer company. Neighbor’s house falling down? Call the for-fee protection…um…building inspection company. Want to go to a park? The for-fee protection …um…”recreation experience” company’s attendant will meet you at the gate with his hand out.

I’ve seen this vision somewhere….seems like that was the dream of Tony Soprano.  I’d say if Mish had his way, we’d all pay a LOT more.   There’s too much temptation to be otherwise.

Yeah, this will work out well. Outsourcing the vital functions of a city to corporations. THEY have our best interests at heart. Right. 

Some things can’t be judged solely by the financial bottom line. Civilization is one of them.  So why on earth should we believe that cities can be great if just the right cooperate management and low wage help was applied to them.

Yes, there were some bad bargains made by cities for gold-standard pensions. These were made mainly to cops and firefighters. But at the time, safety seemed like an important issue.

We can’t give up on communal government. We can’t place the management of our cities – the only thing we all share – in the hands of private corporations, for whom the bottom line is the only thing.

Great cities, and thus great civilizations, have always had this tension. Rome managed to last for 1,000 years. We’re struggling as we enter our 200s.

In all this, I see nothing but a contempt by some people for having to “pay” for others.  Mish is dead wrong on this. He probably lives in a comfortable suburb where the privatization of civic life has already take place for those who can afford it. No one needs public school teachers if their kids are in private schools. No one needs parks when they can go to the country club. No one needs police when everyone is of the same income. I’m sure his suburb runs very smoothly, and thus he thinks that everyone should live like he does.


Costa Mesa to Lay Off 43% of City Workforce, Outsource Services; Nearly Half-Way There; The Ideal Number of Public Employees is Zero

 The City of Costa Mesa, with a population over 100,000, is about to become 43% closer to the idealized goal of no city workers.

In a massive step in the right direction,


The city of Costa Mesa plans to lay off more than 200 employees and outsource 18 city services by the fall.

The layoffs would cut the city’s municipal workforce by 43%. The City Council approved the layoffs in a 4-1 vote late Tuesday night, despite nearly unanimous opposition from the audience.

City officials said pink slips will go out in the next six months. The mayor blamed years of missteps by city staff and rising pension costs.

Almost half of city work force gets pink slips
The Daily Pilot has more details in


Almost half of city work force gets pink slips


“About 203 city employees will be receiving the six-month notice in the City Council effort to correct the budget.

City officials have crunched the numbers and determined that more than 200 Costa Mesa employees — or 43% of Costa Mesa’s municipal workforce — could be laid off through outsourcing.

Of the 472 full-time positions, 203 city employees, give or take one or two, will get pink slips notifying them that they could be laid off in six months, said Administrative Services Director Steve Mandoki.

Tuesday’s move is part of a dramatic restructuring of a city that faces potentially skyrocketing pension costs in the coming years.

Costa Mesa’s own projections show that in the next few years, it will be expected to pay more into the state’s public pension fund, CalPERS. It’s a situation being replayed up and down the state: When the CalPERS pension fund was flush in the early 2000s, Costa Mesa did not have to pay much to the state to cover its employees’ retirement costs. Now that CalPERS investments are hurting, cities have to cover the difference.

That pattern looks to continue for at least the next five years, city officials project.

Laying off hundreds of employees and their accumulating pensions by the fall would help to balance the city’s budget in years to come, council members reason.

“We’re going to run out of money sometime this year if nothing changes,” said Councilman Eric Bever.”

Costa Mesa Half-Way There
The best way to deal with public employees and their overly generous pension contracts is to not have public employees at all.
I commend Costa Mesa for a huge but incomplete step in the right direction.
Other than a small number of elected officials and a few administrative assistants, the correct number of public employees is zero.




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  1. Pingback: Brief About Seo Outsourcing Company India | Business Outsourcing

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