Entries by Edward Ring

Reforming Binding Arbitration

The City of San Jose was a pioneer in reforming their rules governing binding arbitration, rules that may seem obscure and complex to the uninitiated, but which have profound consequences. Until the San Jose city council put arbitration reform on the ballot in 2010, unelected arbitrators could end labor negotiations with decisions that were devastating […]

Pension Reform – The San Diego Model

Beginning around 2009 it became clear to civic leaders and councilmembers that the City of San Diego faced serious financial challenges. A San Diego County Grand Jury in that year released a report that recommended the city file for bankruptcy. The report cited the underfunded City’s pension system as the primary underlying cause of their […]

Tips for Negotiating with Public Sector Unions

You’ve just been elected to the city council. You’re 34 years old and you’ve been attending your city council meetings for almost a decade. You’ve served on some civic improvement commissions. You’ve been a concerned activist for most of your life. But the firefighters union contract is being renegotiated this year, and you’re about to […]

Getting the Most Out of Your Annual Agency Audit

Audits matter. In Placentia, Bell, Compton, Pasadena, Beaumont, and elsewhere, California cities needlessly lost millions, and for a time, nobody knew. Accounting is boring. Until it isn’t. Just as the devil is in the details, the financial fate of public agencies is buried in the numbers. Whether it’s via corruption or incompetence, without vigilant oversight, millions can […]

How to Put Agency Budgets Online

Across California governments are putting more of their information online. While browser-based charts and graphs showing your agencies’ revenues and expenditures will impress constituents, moving fiscal data online can be challenging – especially for those governments that do not have a lot of technology geeks on staff. Fortunately, governments now have an array of options […]

How to Identify a “Good” Bond

In November 2016 Californians approved Prop. 51, authorizing $9.0 billion in new borrowing for construction and upgrades of public schools. Also on November 8, Californians approved 171 local bond measures, authorizing over $22 billion in additional financing for construction and upgrades of public schools. This new borrowing is only to construct and upgrade K-12 and […]

In Search of Heroes

California is not just any “blue state.” By many measures, California is a blue nation. It boasts the world’s sixth largest economy, isolated from the rest of the nation by mountains and deserts that were virtually impassable before modern times. It is blessed with diverse industries, abundant natural resources, and the most attractive weather in […]