More than three years after voters passed a privatization measure for city services, Councilman Carl DeMaio wants to put the idea back on the ballot.

DeMaio stood with an array of contractor workers earlier this afternoon as he announced his intention to gather signatures for a November 2010 initiative that would amend the city charter to produce a more “accountable” version of the program.

The version DeMaio proposed includes deadlines and transparency measures Prop. C did not, he said. This would include posting all contracts online, disclosing the number of bids on each contract and requiring the mayor and City Council members to reveal any campaign contributions received from contractors in the previous year. It also sets a deadline of June 30, 2010 that the city would have to complete a competition process for several support services, including solid waste collection, landfill management, auto and print services and facilities management.

DeMaio lamented what he called an “inexcusable delay” in carrying out Mayor Jerry Sanders’ program, which would pit city services departments against private contractors in a bidding process that could lead to their outsourcing.

Not one program has been subject to such review since Proposition C was passed by voters in 2006; it has been stalled as the Mayor’s Office and unions have failed to reach an accord on guidelines.

That has fostered a lapse in public trust, he said.

“I think it will help the mayor advance reform at City Hall,” DeMaio said. “To achieve efficient project management, to make sure we can restore public trust in decisions that are made in city government.”

DeMaio’s decision to go solo with his announcement follows weeks of back and forth between the Mayor’s Office and City Council in closed negotiations about the merit of the mayor’s plan.

“Nothing seems to be changing on that front,” DeMaio said.

In light of the city’s $200 million budget deficit, the need for savings has made the issue more urgent, DeMaio said.

“I feel the public is pretty frustrated about that delay and the millions of dollars could have been saved by implementing it quicker,” DeMaio said.

The Mayor’s Office does not have a position on DeMaio’s proposed version, spokeswoman Rachel Laing said.

DeMaio did not outright dismiss the current ordinance on managed composition, saying he would continue to work with council members on it.

But the time for action is now, he said.

“We need to get moving on those reforms because we have money we need to save in this budget deficit,” DeMaio said. “The more money we save in competitive bidding, more money we save (overall).”


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