We do not believe that outsourcing these services addresses the problems he expressed to us." On the contrary, the letter states, "in-house staff would have to review a second consultant's work, which would prolong rather than streamline the environmental review process."
Rahaim, the planning director, told us that "the idea was to look for ways to help the staff out," and stressed that he viewed it as "augmenting as opposed to outsourcing" city jobs. However, he added that it's "not something I'm sold on as the only way to do this."
Rahaim seemed receptive to the union's concerns, said Adam Gubser, president of the Planner's Chapter of Local 21. But union members remain universally opposed to the proposal as it stands. "There are serious flaws that need to be addressed," Gubser said. "We're very concerned about contracting out, so any proposal is held under a microscope."