CA: Costa Mesa terminates private jail services contract due to ‘mass resignation’ of jailers

Costa Mesa officials last week terminated a contract with the private firm that has provided jail services for the city since 2013, citing a “mass resignation” of employees that would have left only two properly trained jailers at the overburdened facility.

Members of the City Council in a May 17 meeting agreed to immediately halt the city’s longstanding arrangement with G4S Secure Solutions and Allied Universal, the company that acquired it in 2021, ahead of a June 30 contract expiration date and to consider negotiating with Huntington Beach for temporary jail services.

“When you outsource city services to a company that provides those on a contract basis, one of the consequences is an issue with performance that could lead to termination,” Mayor John Stephens said during the discussion.

“That’s a risk we took way back when, and that risk has come home to roost.”

An erstwhile conservative-majority City Council had cost savings in mind on June 4, 2013, when members approved outsourcing jail services to G4S, a move they said would cut costs by 45% compared to paying city-employed custody officers for the same work.

The company offered to perform the same duties and promised a host of advantages — like on-site video monitoring and an additional $10 million in liability coverage — for an annual $743,329, compared to the $1,346,789 budgeted for custody officers unionized under the Costa Mesa City Employees Assn.