San Bernardino Seal

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 11/06/14, 8:36 PM PST |

San Bernardino voters’ decision not to change the way police and firefighters are paid is a “game-changer” that could mean outsourcing services and going back to voters next year — this time to raise taxes, the city’s bankruptcy attorney said Thursday.

Paul Glassman said in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Riverside that those “revenue raising measures” — which likely won’t make it on the ballot before November 2015 and face an uncertain fate in “the poorest municipality in the state” — will be joined by attempts to cut costs, including outsourcing.

“Among other things, the City will be looking at contracting out to the private sector or other governmental agencies the provision of certain City services, particularly where collective bargaining has not yielded the necessary cost cutting,” Glassman said in a filing before Thursday’s hearing.

The City Council voted in August to look into the possibility of having the county take over fire services, acknowledging at the time that a lawsuit would probably contend that the city charter requires an in-house Fire Department. And in early 2013, it considered outsourcing police until the Sheriff’s Department delivered a report saying it wouldn’t save money.

With three of the city’s creditors now asking the court to impose a deadline by which the city must file a plan to exit bankruptcy, several of those creditors harshly criticized the city for not having a plan that could withstand Measure Q’s failure.

“I see it as the scariest day in the case,” said Corey Glave, the firefighter union’s attorney. “We’re 28 months into this (bankruptcy case). Their plan to get out of this was based on the repeal of a charter section that has been challenged three or four times without success. It’s scary that that’s their plan.”

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