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County pumps more money into labor negotiations 

Sometimes, you’ve got to spend money to save money.

To date, San Luis Obispo County has contracted to pay the firm Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai $415,000 for specialized labor negotiating services: a $155,000 contract signed in April 2010, which was increased by $190,000 in August, and a one-time $70,000 payment in October for a special compensation study.

On March 15 of this year, SLO County supervisors approved another $100,000, which will at least carry the firm through the current fiscal year, ending June 30.

According to a county staff report, the contract carries a price tag of about $24,000 per month and is expected to continue at that rate for as long as the county uses Renee Sloan.

SLO County Employees Association General Manager Kimm Daniels criticized county supervisors for going so far beyond the original scope of the contract, particularly as public employee unions are cutting back to deal with annual multi-million-dollar deficits.

Supervisor Adam Hill said the county needs Sloan to help because “we realized we needed to do things dramatically different with our labor negotiations.”

Services provided by the firm would otherwise be handled in-house by county administrative and human resources officials. Following the sex scandal involving former county administrator David Edge, former assistant administrator Gail Wilcox, and former sheriff’s union rep Tony Perry, however, county officials went looking for help.

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