In an effort to try and fulfill a campaign promise of raising city employee minimum wages to $15 an hour, Mayor Armando O’caña, Mission city council and the city attorney are in the process of reviewing consulting service contracts with Mission.
During a workshop held this week, the mayor and council looked over the contracts currently held in the City of Mission with various consulting firms. According to O’caña and City Manager Martin Garza, Jr., Mission currently holds contracts with “10 to 20” consulting services.
“They wanted to know who we have on payroll, and what services they do,” O’caña said. “The other side of the coin was, are there any concurrent services, and can we save money?”
Council found some areas that can be consolidated, and they hope to figure out how to combine services in order to save money and eventually get the minimum wage for city employees to $15.
“We did find some areas [that are concurrent],” O’caña said. “Our direction as a whole was to follow the procurement process of the city, whatever it takes to advertise, whatever it takes for qualifications, we’re going to follow that process.
Contracts that have been valid for three years or more will be reviewed, and a determination of their viability will be made by September. If necessary, the services three years or older will be re-bid.
“We did have a great variety of services,” O’caña said. “Several of them we’re going to consolidate into one contract. We’re not looking at performance. By November 1, we should have all our contracts updated.”
O’caña said that the city plans to classify certain consultants as primary and others as alternate pools consultants, in case the primary consultant has other contracts with other cities that are preventing them from assisting Mission immediately.
“If we have a primary bidder, and he has 18 projects that he has to test all over the Valley, and we’re number 18 and it’s holding up our project, then the secondary pool will be called up,” O’caña said. “It’s so we can expedite the project – instead of waiting five weeks for the other contractor, we can do it in two to three days, in a timely and professional manner.”
Garza and O’caña stressed that all the consulting services in contract with the city have been providing excellent work for Mission, this is just in an effort to keep taxes low and hopefully increase efficiency and financial responsibility.
“The spirit of the council in their discussion was that the performances of all of them were very high,” O’caña said. “All of them have provided quality services to the city, but at the end of the day, if we can consolidate and save money for the city without raising taxes, that’s what we get elected for.”
The workshop also included approval to increase the bandwidth of internet services at the Mission Event Center. Internet is currently being provided by AT&T, and both mayor and the city manager said if more bandwidth is needed in the future, they would increase again.
“This purchase was not in our budget process, but we do have money in the fund balance to cover that,” O’caña said, “Without raising taxes, again.”