The editorial on Feb. 14, “Our Cops and our Firefighters to stay ours” indicated that the fiscal sustainability committee endorsed contracting out for these services. This is not correct.
What we said was that the city should consider: “Investigating the costs and benefits of contracting with the Placer County Sheriff and CalFire, or other fire service, for public safety protection.” The distinction is important. We did not recommend contracting out for public safety services for the simple reason that in order to do so, one would have to know the specific deliverables in terms of cost (bids) and scope (how much protection). This was outside the task assigned us by the City Council.
The recommendation to “investigate” outsourcing public safety was based on our research with other jurisdictions. Scores of cities contract with their county for police protection. We interviewed the city management of the city of San Carlos, which recently contracted with the San Mateo Country Sheriff. They saved both a lot of money and increased services. CalFire similarly provides fire protection to many jurisdictions throughout the state.
We recognized that every jurisdiction is different and that there are no universal answers. Perhaps contracting would work for us, perhaps not. There is one thing for sure, however, and that is that we would have been derelict in our duties to the City Council and the citizens of Lincoln if we didn’t at least raise the option(s) that many other jurisdictions have adopted. A similar case can be made with the upcoming solid waste discussion.
This matter is brought to the public’s attention because the FSC spent thousands of hours on this effort. We understood the potential impact(s) of our recommendations on city personnel and the community at large. There should not be any miss-construing of our recommendations.