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County contracts out, prompts horror

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In order to get its budget, wages, and pension costs back in order, San Luis Obispo County officials have agreed to pay a consulting firm $345,000 through June 30, 2011.

On April 27, SLO County supervisors approved a $155,000 contract with Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai to provide labor relations services for the county. On Aug. 24, supervisors extended the contract through next June for another $190,000.

County Administrator Jim Grant explained that county officials attempted to do the work themselves, “but the in-house methods simply didn’t work.”

Citing budget problems due to escalating pension costs and a county prevailing wage ordinance, officials said it’s necessary to bring in outside “experts” to help at the bargaining table with county unions.

“It is a difficult thing to accept that we need to change the way business is being done,” Supervisor Frank Mecham said.

San Luis Obispo County Employees’ Association General Manager Kimm Daniels criticized the county for spending money on services she said would be best provided by county employees.

“We are still horrified that the county is going to be contracting out services that can be provided internally,” Daniels said.

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