Maywood Becomes a "Contract City"


The city of Maywood, south of downtown L.A., will lose all of its paid employees beyond elected officials and contract out all city services to other local governments, after being crushed by budget deficits and an inability to buy insurance.

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The L.A. Times tells the tale of Maywood's troubles, and proposed solution:

Maywood's $10.1-million general fund budget has a deficit of at least $450,000, officials said. Beyond that, the city has been unable to obtain insurance because of a history of lawsuits, many involving its Police Department, which also patrols Cudahy. Operating without insurance would make even routine government services highly risky.

Last month, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority notified Maywood that it was terminating general liability and workers' compensation coverage because the city posed too high a risk. A large number of claims filed against the police were a significant factor in that decision....

Under the city's plan, the Sheriff's Department will take over patrols. The neighboring city of Bell will take over other municipal services, including staffing Maywood's City Hall, saving the city an estimated $164,375 a year, officials said. The changes would take effect July 1.

Maywood's police force has long been troublesome:

Four years ago, the department faced a political outcry when it began running checkpoints that resulted in hundreds of cars being taken away from unlicensed illegal immigrants. Critics charged the checkpoints were an attempt to make money off Maywood's large illegal immigrant population.

Maywood had been known for hiring problem police officers from other cities. For more on the general phenomenon of California cities contracting out all their services, see the website of the California Contract Cities Association.

Image taken by Flickr user Seth Tisue. Used under user Creative Commons license.

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