The County of Humboldt sent a letter recently to the legislature signaling its strong opposition to Assembly Bill 1250 (Jones-Sawyer). AB 1250, at its core, seeks to stop counties from contracting with community-based organizations (CBOs), nonprofits, local businesses and other private providers of quality local services that counties and their residents rely on.
This is significant because Humboldt County routinely contracts with organizations and businesses that have the expertise, capacity or the ability to deliver services more efficiently.
AB 1250 has passed the Assembly and will be heard in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on Wednesday.
“The constraints contained within AB 1250 will jeopardize our ability to provide vital health care, social services, mental health and public safety services for our county’s most vulnerable,” said Virginia Bass, chair of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors. “We routinely contract for homeless housing services, food and nutrition benefits, children and family services, and so much more.”
Proponents of the bill claim it won’t limit contracting with non-government groups, but the clear intent of AB 1250 is to prohibit these private contracts. The bill imposes significant new restrictions and layers of bureaucracy designed to stop counties from contracting for local services.
For instance, the bill requires CBOs, nonprofits and local businesses to disclose personal information about its employees and officers, including salary and other private information. This not only raises significant privacy concerns, but it will chill private sector’s willingness to enter into contracts with counties to provide services. It also requires contractors to disclose extensive information on a monthly basis. These auditing and review requirements could create unnecessary gaps and delays in service delivery that can pose detrimental outcomes for the people benefiting from these programs.
By restricting counties’ abilities to provide services in the most cost-effective manner, AB 1250 will also increase costs for taxpayers and reduce funding available for other local services. For many fundamental programs, it will not be a matter of who will provide the service but if they can even be offered at all.
“The role of local government is to determine the most effective way to deliver critical services in our communities,” said Bass, who is also 2nd Vice President of the California State Association of Counties (CSAC). “We do not need another Sacramento mandate that dictates how we govern our county or that impedes our ability to deliver high-quality and cost-effective services to local residents.”