The State Worker

From the notebook: Does new contracting law have teeth?

Our story in Monday’s fiber/cyber Bee looked at Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2014-15 budget plan to convert some outsourced jobs into civil service work.

One piece of of reporting for the story that didn’t make the final cut referenced union-backed legislation Brown signed last year that aims to make departments more accountable for farming out government work to private firms.

Written by Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, the first version of Assembly Bill 906 mandated legislative approval for personal services contracts, limited how long the agreements could run, and clamped down on extending them. It also required an appropriation by the Legislature before departments could sign an agreement for personal services contracts.

Those provisions had been drained from the bill by the time it reached Brown’s desk. The measure signed into law requires the state set up a certification process for an existing law that requires that unions be notified of contracts that outsource work their members might be able to perform. As our story notes, departments don’t always tell state labor groups about such agreements.

The Department of General Services earlier this month issued a memo to departments that says no personal service contract will be executed until the affected union acknowledges receiving notification of the pending agreement and a copy of the contract.

You can read the DGS memo below or click here to download a copy. Pan’s office did not respond to repeated requests for an interview.

California Department of General Services Management Memo, Jan. 9, 2014

We can never get everything we learn into a news story. "From the notebook" posts give you some of the extra details -- documents, notes, data and quotes -- that take you more deeply into our reports.