“I’m just concerned about the fact it kind of looks like a monopoly or almost a monopoly,” Commissioner Bill Weisman said Friday.
In an effort to eventually address the issue of competition, the commission authorized the permit renewal through Dec. 15, 2013, when the last operator permit is set to expire.
When other operators’ permits come up for renewal, they will be renewed to the same date, commissioners said, at which point current and new operators could compete for permits.
In the meantime, commissioners and city officials will study and discuss potential changes to the city’s taxi permitting process, officials said. Any code changes to the process would require City Council approval.
The commissioners are limited in their ability to make permit decisions based on potential linked ownership if the corporations are in good standing with the state and meet the service requirements specified by the city’s municipal code, said Chris Sansone, legal counsel of the city’s Public Works department.
“We’d have to have a reason to inquire further, such as a violation,” she said.
John Gantus, a lawyer representing City Cab’s owner G&S Transit, said the commission’s focus should be on the operator’s merits, such as its 90% rate of being on time, rather than level of competition.
“That is your mandate — to find that the people of Glendale are being appropriately serviced,” said Gantus, who also serves on the city’s Civil Service Commission.
Still, Chairman Christopher Welch said current codes are flawed because they prohibit a competitive bidding process.
“My concern is that it locks us in a box. Unless we can find actual violations on a operator, we have very little discretion,” he said. “It gives automatic approval to those who are locked into the position of current operator, and no new operator can come in. That to me is an anti-competitive thing.”