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Q: What is Measure B, Charter Amendment 14, on the June 3 election ballot?
A: If passed, Measure B will delete the language that requires the city to hire its own police and fire department staff and delete the requirement that the City Council obtain voter approval first before considering other options, such as contracting out police and fire services. If Measure B is not passed by voters, no changes will occur to the city’s current public safety service model.
Q: What will the ballot state and what does it mean?
A: The official ballot question is: “Shall section 702 of the Charter be amended to remove the requirement that the City shall provide for the staffing of the police and fire departments through its own staff and to remove the requirement that a two-thirds advisory vote is necessary before the City Council may consider alternative methods or agreements for providing police and fire services”
If you vote yes, the City Council can vote to consider contracting out police and fire services without the two-thirds vote of the Downey voters.
If you vote no, the City Council would continue to require two-thirds vote of the Downey voters in order to consider contracting out police and fire services.
Q: Did the city attorney prepare an impartial analysis of the measure?
A: Yes, the city attorney provided an unbiased analysis and determined if Measure B is passed, the City Council has permission to decide, without Downey voters’ approval, whether to hire their own police and fire service employees or consider other options, such as contracting out.
Q: Did the Downey City Council take a position on Measure B?
A: Yes, the City Council does not agree with Measure B and voted against it.
The city conducted a study which stated that 1.) cities that hired the L.A. County Fire Department received an average of 4% cost increase each year, 2.) there would be less fire personnel serving the Downey residents; 3.) both business and residential home values are higher when they have their own fire and police departments.
Q: What is the role of the Downey Firemen’s Association as to Measure B?
A: The Downey Firemen’s Association is a supporter of Measure B, and would like to be contracted by the L.A. County Fire Department and not have a city-run fire department.
Q: Does the Downey Police Employee Association support contracting out police services and deletion of the current Charter Section 702 restrictions?
A: The Downey Police Management Association and the Downey Police Officers’ Association do not agree with Measure B.
Q: If two-thirds of the voters have to approve contracting out fire and police services, why is the vote called “advisory” and why a two-thirds vote?
A: Under the current charter section 702, the City Council must obtain the approval of two-thirds (2/3) of the voters before the council can contract out police and fire services.
Q: Where can I get more information?
A: Additional information related to Measure B is available on the City of Downey’s website at downeyca.org/gov/clerk/election.asp. Information is also available in the City Clerk’s office or by calling (562) 904-7280.
Frequently asked questions and answers provided the city of Downey. Cities are not allowed to use city funds to support or oppose a ballot measure.
Published: May 29, 2014 – Volume 13 – Issue 07