By Ted AYALA
Glendale City Councilmember Ara Najarian urged council on Tuesday night to consider adopting a resolution that would support the state’s push for tighter regulations on the fast-growing rideshare industries.
Rideshare apps, such as for Uber and Lyft, allow customers to hail a ride from a swipe on their smartphones. Often proving to be cheaper than traditional taxis, the popularity of rideshares has exploded in the past year.
But the companies have come under increasing criticism. Taxi companies argue that the rideshare firms circumvent laws that taxis are forced to comply with, creating an uneven playing field. A number of taxi drivers held a protest at the steps of Los Angeles City Hall earlier this week.
Lawmakers, meanwhile, are struggling to keep pace with the popularity of rideshares.
One of the bills before the California Assembly, AB 612, would require rideshare operators to insure their drivers for $1 million at all times their apps are switched on. It would also allow for a more carefully regulated system of background checks of rideshare drivers.
Later in the meeting, Glendale City Manager Scott Ochoa brought forward a plan to trim costs at city hall, which was approved by council.
The plan would present the equivalent of a lump sum of six months salary by allowing qualified employees to opt for early retirement.
Ochoa said the move “would facilitate employees who simply want to sever from the city.”
The city’s unions have expressed interest in exploring the plan further.
The opt-in period for eligible employees could begin as early as today, June 12, and would continue through July. Once the necessary threshold of participants has been reached, city staff would design two guidelines for people to exit the organization. Some would be allowed to leave at one time, others later.
“We need to do this in an orderly fashion,” Ochoa explained.
The ultimate fiscal impact wouldn’t be known until next year, he added.
Associated costs would be cost neutral as positions would be left unfilled during the opt-in period. After that point, based on who would be moving on, an executive team would make a decision on what positions needed to be refilled and which could be left vacant.