Maywood, California Outsources the Government; Life Goes On

Faced with declining property and sales taxes and a police department slapped with $19 million in claims against officers (which caused the city to lose its insurance), led Mayor Ana Rosa Rizo of Maywood, California to do the unthinkable. She fired everyone. “It was either this or bankruptcy.” What is remarkable in this small, but densely populated, blue-collar city south of L.A. is that nobody really noticed the difference.

Anarchy did not follow. Public safety duties were handed over to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The Mayor’s husband got a parking ticket from enforcement officials contracted by the city a few hours after the municipal employees were let go.

While the city is not trying to present itself as a model for other municipalities facing bankruptcy civic leader Hector Alvarado says the firings sent the right message to a dysfunctional public workforce, “Remember the Soviet Union? They had a lot of bureaucracy, and they lost. Maywood was like that. Now people know if they don’t work, they will be laid off. Much better this way.”