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Divided L.A. council votes to outsource fire department ambulance billings over union objections

Despite strenuous objections from one of its employee unions, a divided Los Angeles City Council agreed Tuesday to hire a private company to handle billing for the fire department’s ambulance services.

On a 9-to-5 vote, the council approved a six-year contract with Advanced Data Processing Inc., which will handle collections as the department moves to an automated billing system.

Proponents had warned that a rejection of the contract would force the fire department to absorb another $15.9 million in cuts. Budget woes have already caused department staffing to be pared back in recent months.

“This [contract] will allow us to save millions of dollars that will go to fire services -- and no one will need to lose their jobs,” said Councilman Paul Krekorian.

Although the plan would result in the elimination of 49 city employee positions, no layoffs would occur as a result of the new ambulance billing agreements. Nevertheless, the contract came under fire from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 36, which argued that the outside contractor would get to keep too much of the billing proceeds.

“City workers can do the work more effectively and ensure all of the revenue” stays in city coffers, the union local’s executive director, Cheryl Parisi, told the council.

Five council members voted against the contract: Tony Cardenas, Jose Huizar, Janice Hahn, Paul Koretz and Dennis Zine. Councilman Richard Alarcon was absent.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had pushed aggressively for the outsourcing plan, at one point summoning Koretz into his office and lobbying him on the subject in the midst of the council meeting.

Koretz was not persuaded, calling the billing deal a “sweetheart contract.” He tried to convince his colleagues to renegotiate the terms -- delaying the decision for the time being. That effort was defeated on a 7-7 vote.

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Comments () | Archives (6)

Tony Villar is giving sweetheart deals to his buddies because he wants a job later....just like all the free tickets he was receiving...smells.

Maybe we should outsource our city council, lol.

if the council went against their BOSS, the union, who will benefit here? who owns this company? names please.

Another of the Pint Size Mayor's friends will get the tax payers money, and outsourcing always cost more. The company, the workers, and the city will get their share, that equals more money. All of these backroom deals will bankrupt the city.

When are Unions not complaining?!

Oh no...they "strenously object"...
oh well...that makes a difference...
objection...no they "strenously object"...
what that did was make the case decide for
the other...nice...
this new venture must run a tight ship ...do
your best to serve LA and make us proud we
made the correct decision and should look to
other ventures as well to help provide public
service...the recent past as been a failure to hold
those accountable...that has to change as this council
voted to do...change.


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