Hello, India?

By Eric S. Page
|  Friday, Oct 30, 2009  |  Updated 4:05 PM PDT
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Hello, India?

San Diego's election cycle breather comes to an end next June.

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Just how far out could out-sourcing go for San Diego city services?

The short answer is: We're going to have to get back to you.

San Diego City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner was wondering this week about how the city is going to handle its pursuit of what the wags are calling managed competition, a topic nearly three years from the launching pad. On Tuesday, the issue came up during a City Council meeting, and Lightner was looking for some specifics.

"Is there a requirement here that the companies be local? The contractors be local? The jobs be local?" Lightner asked city staff.

The councilwoman from the 1st District was told by city staffers that locally performed tasks, like picking up your trash, can't be done from New Dehli. Lightner persisted, though, with her line of inquiry, pointing out that such services as data processing, which recently went out for bid, could be done anywhere.

Nine companies bid on the gig currently performed by the city's  nonprofit Data Processing Corporation, which placed one of the nine bids San Diego received, the voiceofsandiego.org reported.

So, will soccer moms from Clairemont be talking to Mumbai in the near future? Maybe not.

"I believe we have a requirement that the bidders must be incorporated within the U.S.," the city's chief information officer, Naresh Lachmandas, told the online news site.

Nevertheless, Lightner, who said a draft manual/guidebook on the issue of outsourcing was provided to her by the city for the first time last week., said nothing in the guidebook says the jobs have to remain local. "My concern is to make sure the jobs stay local," Lightner said, and that any taxes that assessed to companies are gathered by local governments and that those issues need to be taken into account before any bids are solicited.

"If it's something that the city is going to sign up for, it needs to be codified," Lightner said.

A representative for the mayor's office confirmed that the guidelines do not stipulate whether the companies performing the services have to be based locally.
 

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