SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Competitive bidding to run the operations of the Miramar Landfill was won by city employees, who will save San Diego at least $2.7 million annually, Mayor Jerry Sanders announced Friday.
City employees have won all four competitions for city functions, with an annual savings of around $8.5 million.
Their proposal will trim 11 full-time employees, reduce the amount of equipment they use and restructure staff schedules, according to the mayor. He said the workers who lose their jobs will probably be able to land posts elsewhere in the city.
"They were very creative, they are making do with a lot less, they're taking on additional duties, and I think they've done an incredible job in figuring out how to stretch their talent and time in how to better run the landfill," Sanders said.
Councilwoman Lorie Zapf said the purpose of the city's managed competition program was never to outsource jobs.
"It was to achieve the greatest savings and the greatest efficiencies - and that's exactly what's going on," Zapf said. "Competition spurs more creativity, more innovation, and our city employees are showing they're up to the task."
Sanders said when the managed competition program was approved by voters six years ago, he expected city workers to win 80 percent of the time.
Private businesses should continue to compete, the mayor said. Several other functions are in the bidding process right now.
Sanders said he expects bids to be turned in next week on street and sidewalk maintenance.
He also announced that the next service to go out to bidding is curbside garbage collection, which is performed by the city for most residents.
"I think there will be a very spirited competition in this," Sanders said. He said the city stands to save a lot of money through putting the service up to competition.
The mayor and Councilman Todd Gloria said residents generally give high marks to the city for its curbside trash pickup.
Trash haulers Waste Management, Allied Waste and EDCO have large operations in San Diego County, and Wally Hill, who oversees managed competition for the city, said firms from outside the area also may enter bids.
The competition for landfill operations was far less fierce – Sanders said only one private firm submitted a proposal. Potential liability issues appeared to scare away other potential bidders, he said.
Opponents of managed competition expressed concerns in public hearings about the possibility of environmental degradation if a private company were to take over the landfill, but Sanders said he was "confident" in the ability of the workers to maintain standards.
Landfill operations duties include collecting fees from refuse vehicles, checking for hazardous materials, moving and packing waste, turning green waste into compost and mulch, and monitoring closed landfills for methane gas leaks and sinkholes.