A missed deadline has put a crimp in Costa Mesa, Calif.’s plans to ask voters to amend the city charter so it can legally lay off employees and outsource services.
The city is attempting to rectify what it considers a “clerical error” by asking Orange County Superior Court to allow the charter measure to be placed on the June ballot.
The city clerk thought the filing deadline was March 12, not the previous Friday, according to city officials.
Orange County registrar Neal Kelly told the city government he did not have the discretion to extend the deadline, officials said.
The Southern California city earned national notoriety last year when it issued pink slips to nearly half of its city employees.
The city worker’s union thwarted its plan by filing a lawsuit alleging that the plans are illegal, because Costa Mesa is a general-law city subject to the state constitution’s limit of outsourcing to “special services.”
Costa Mesa officials then decided to go to voters in June with a plan that would make the city a charter city, which would make it legal for the government to outsource services.
In July, Superior Court Judge Barbara Tam Nomoto Schumann issued a preliminary injunction that bars the city from outsourcing government work to the private sector.
Nomoto Schumann later denied the city’s attempt to dismiss part of the suit. The trial is scheduled to start in April.