Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/01/2012 06:56:54 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – The City Council on Monday will consider a recommendation to solicit a proposal from the Sheriff’s Department on what it would cost to contract with the county law enforcement agency for policing services.

As part of a major organizational restructuring of city operations in light of its filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection on Aug. 1, the possibility of outsourcing various services, including police and fire protection, has become a necessary evil.

City Attorney James F. Penman initiated a discussion with the Sheriff’s Department to determine whether contracting for law enforcement services was feasible.

Sheriff Rod Hoops said his department could provide a formal proposal if a majority of council members requested in writing a proposal and authorized the interim city manager to provide the information to the Sheriff’s Department to develop the proposal, according to a staff report prepared for the council.

The city is also considering requesting a proposal from the county Fire Department at a later date, Penman said.

“There’s no plan to put a similar proposal on Monday’s agenda regarding the (county) Fire Department, however, that could come at a future date,” Penman said.

Penman said he doesn’t expect the move will fare well with the city’s police and fire unions, the San Bernardino Police Officers Association and San Bernardino City Professional Firefighters.

“I think both unions will oppose this very strongly,” Penman said Thursday. “At the same time, I think the city has an obligation to be open and above board on this and not to try and spring it on people.”

Penman met with the police union’s president and vice president on Monday to tell them of the city’s plan.

“Penman says it’s part of the bankruptcy process. They have to look at all areas, and it’s my understanding this isn’t necessary,” said Steve Turner, president of the Police Officers Association, or POA.

The POA held an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the matter. Turner would not disclose what was discussed or any action the union plans to take.

Penman said he also met Monday with the president and secretary/treasurer of San Bernardino City Professional Firefighters, Scott Moss and Greg Parker, respectively, to tell them the city is considering seeking a proposal from the county Fire Department.

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