Privatizing Government Services in the Era of ALEC and the Great Recession

Source: Ellen Dannin, University of Toledo Law Review, Vol. 43 no. 503, Spring 2012

From the abstract:
Events in 2010 and 2011 suggested that we were headed on a privatizaton trajectory.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) burst onto the scene, with privatization of public services as a major focus. On March 11, 2010, newly elected New Jersey Governor Chris Christie responded to the state’s financial crisis by issuing an executive order creating a privatization task force – popularly known as the “Zimmer Commission” – to address the state’s financial crisis. The executive order’s list of reasons for creating the Task Force included being “hindered by legal impediments, many of which were needlessly self-imposed by the prior administration”; agreeing to “an unreasonable “memorandum of agreement” (“MOA”) that purports to prevent the State from taking common sense management approaches to achieve personnel efficiencies in the near term”; “delaying previously negotiated wage increases until after the end of the prior administration has resulted in the State having reduced flexibility to manage its workforce and effectively increased the costs that will be associated with achieving near-term savings by ensuring rounds of litigation in order to preserve basic managerial prerogatives with respect to the size and composition of the State workforce”; and “needlessly” limiting the flexibility needed “to manage its wage and salary payments and the size of its workforce “…while simultaneously preventing meaningful managerial control of the State workforce.” And New Jersey was not alone.

This article examines attacks on public sector employees, the operation of ALEC, and the effects ALEC bills would have on teachers, unions, and education if enacted.

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