By: Orange County Supervisor Pat Bates
Last week’s Board agenda included a proposed ballot measure, which would have broadly altered the County’s ability to outsource projects and services to independent private sector contractors.
Orange County sits at the bottom of all 58 counties, receiving back only $.06 of each property tax dollar. As such, the Board historically has been innovative in competitively bidding work to the private sector, more so than any other county in the state. Recently, we entered into a private sector contact worth $200,000,000 for IT Managed Services.
We also regularly contract with architects, engineers, public works construction, and construction management services. Where possible, we also use private firms for items such as street sweeping, landscape maintenance, tree trimming, and social workers contracted through private agencies.
Altering our Charter, which is the Constitution of the County, is not something I approach lightly. I am certainly supportive of the theme of this amendment; however, it needs to be fully formed first. As a result, this item was not approved by the board.
The proposal as amended lacked specificity and analysis on what services, programs and projects would be the focus of the expanded contracting authority. That information needs to be included in the discussion before such a charter amendment is presented to the voters.
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Another charter amendment related to when a successful candidate for a seat on the Board of Supervisors is eligible to be officially seated following the November General Election was approved by the Board to be placed on the November 2014 ballot.
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