Profiting from Prisoners

Source: Center for Public Integrity, September 30, 2014

The Center for Public Integrity traveled around the U.S. to investigate the growing web of prison bankers, private vendors and corrections agencies … and how they profit off the innocent by shifting costs onto inmates’ families.

Part 1:
Prison bankers cash in on captive customers – Inmates’ families gouged by fees
by Daniel Wagner
This is the first in a two-part series examining how financial companies charge high fees to the families of prison inmates. The second part, which will run Thursday, focuses on no-bid deals between Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the U.S. Treasury, under which they provide financial services to the federal Bureau of Prisons.

Part 2:
Time is money: who’s making a buck off prisoners’ families?
By Eleanor Bell and Daniel Wagner
How a web of prison bankers, private vendors and corrections agencies profit by shifting costs onto inmates’ families.

Related:
Debit cards slam released prisoners with sky-high fees, few protections
‘They kept charging me every time I used it’
By Amirah Al Idrus
When Clarence Justin Aldred was released from Macomb Correctional Facility in New Haven, Michigan, in July 2013, he left with the balance of his inmate account, which consisted of his prison wages and any leftover money sent by family. Aldred received no cash. The money was accessible via a debit card issued by JPay Inc., a Miami-based company that provides financial services to inmates. After 29 years inside, the card was Aldred’s only way to make most purchases. After using it a few times, Aldred, 57, noticed that $15 was missing. “They kept charging me every time I used it. Nobody told me that,” he said. Michigan is one of at least 15 states where prisoners are given their inmate account balance on a prepaid card when they are released. The cards usually carry a variety of fees that eat away at the small amount of money most former inmates are left with to restart their lives. Inmate release cards have drawn criticism from consumer lawyers and faced litigation in at least two states….

Pittsburgh Proposes Odd Deal Change with City’s Major Nonprofits

Source: Rick Cohen, Nonprofit Quarterly, September 30, 2014

If the topic is Pittsburgh, it either involves the Pirates qualifying as a wild card team for the MLB playoffs or the city’s ongoing struggle with tax-exempt nonprofit property owners to negotiate a deal over payment in lieu of taxes. Mayor Bill Peduto’s new budget for the city—$505.9 million for 2015—depends in part on money that would come from a new deal with major property-owning nonprofits such as the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie-Mellon University, and Highmark. The mayor’s chief of staff, Kevin Acklin, told the Post-Gazette that the administration is hoping for a 10-year agreement with nonprofits that would yield somewhere between $16 and $24 million annually.

Review: Why Privatization Fails

Source: Steve Downs, Labor Notes, September 29, 2014

Review: Plundering London Underground: New Labour, private capital and public service, 1997-2010, by Janine Booth, Merlin Press, 2013.

In the early 1980s, New York City’s and London’s subway systems were both on the brink of collapse. Woefully inadequate funding for aging equipment and infrastructure was producing frequent fires, derailments, and failures of signaling systems.

To bring them back from the brink, the powers that be in both cities realized massive investment was needed. But where was the money to come from? They rejected the idea that national, state, or local taxes should provide it.

Borrowing was one alternative. New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the mid-1980s began issuing bonds worth billions of dollars; funds from the fare box were committed to repay them. Thirty years later, the MTA projects 41 percent of fares next year will go to debt service. That’s money that is not available to expand service or settle fair contracts.

London went a different route, choosing in the 1990s to privatize parts of the London Underground in what was known as the Public-Private Partnership (PPP). The public sector still operated the trains, but responsibility for maintaining and modernizing much of the infrastructure was turned over to private companies. According to the plan’s proponents, private companies would do the work so much more “efficiently” that over time they would make a profit from the fees they received for managing their part of the system.

The PPP was supposed to continue for 30 years; it lasted just seven. A new book by Janine Booth, Plundering London Underground, tells its story in great detail. It is a story that anyone concerned about attacks on the public sector, or efforts to privatize public services, should know.

IN-DEPTH COVERAGE: More than 100 food workers banned from state prisons

Source: Amanda Seitz and Josh Sweigart, Dayton Daily News, September 28, 2014

More than 100 food-service employees have been banned from state prisons for violations such as smuggling cellphones or drugs and sexually abusing inmates during the first year of a contractor’s deal to feed state prisoners, an investigation by this newspaper found. Taxpayers have saved more than $13 million since Philadelphia-based Aramark took over the job in September 2013, but the agreement with the state of Ohio has been tarnished with maggot-ridden food and security concerns. State records show 62 food workers were fired and banned from working in prisons over innapropriate relationships with inmates. Two Aramark employees “struck inmate with food” while others were accused of security violations or bringing inmates contraband…. The Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, which previously provided food service at the state’s 26 prisons, proposed to a legislative watchdog agency that it could take back the contract and next year save the state more than $12 million….
Related:
113 food workers banned from state prisons for smuggling, sex crimes, other violations
Source: Norwalk Reflector, September 29, 2014

Taxpayers have saved more than $13 million since private company took over the job. More than 100 food-service employees have been banned from state prisons for violations such as smuggling cellphones or drugs and sexually abusing inmates during the first year of a contractor’s deal to feed state prisoners, an investigation by this newspaper found….

Meal contractor Aramark below state standards at 7 Ohio prisons
Source: Randy Ludlow, Columbus Dispatch, September 8, 2014

State prison officials’ “aggressive and unprecedented monitoring” of Aramark Correctional Services, the vendor serving meals to inmates, reveals that the food service is struggling to meet state standards at seven prisons. The most-recent inspections of Aramark meal service by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows that officials generally are satisfied with what is placed before inmates at most of the 26 state-run prisons. …. The state has fined Aramark $272,300 for a variety of violations since it took over food-service operations from unionized prison employees last fall under a two-year $110 million contract that promised to save the state millions.

Inmates seek food outside cafeteria
Source: Randy Ludlow, Columbus Dispatch, August 31, 2014

Junk food and cell-made meals cobbled together with commissary items appear to be the preferred bill of fare for some Ohio inmates with distaste for the prison-provided food. Purchases at prison commissaries have jumped since Aramark Correctional Services took over meal service last fall, with some prisoners complaining about food quality and quantity. The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has fined Aramark $272,300 in ordering it to fix problems while accepting shared responsibility for the presence of maggots in some food-service areas. A Dispatch analysis of commissary food-sales figures suggests that some inmates are using their limited pocketbooks to vote on the desirability of prison meals that Aramark provides at a cost of $3.61 a day per inmate. At Noble Correctional Institution near Caldwell in southeastern Ohio, monthly commissary food sales have increased an average of 14.5 percent since unionized prison employees stopped making meals….

Calls continue to end prison food contract /Prison inspector suggests researching new vendors
Source: Jona Ison, Marion Star, August 23, 2014

The director of state prison inspections has recommended the state begin researching prison food vendors after a series of well-publicized incidents including maggots in food. The Correctional Institution Inspection Committee this week received a compilation of preliminary recommendations submitted after a late July update on problems with Aramark. The food service vendor took over operations in Ohio’s prisons in September and has been fined a combined $272,200 for contract violations that came to a public head after reports of maggots in or around prison food….

Ohio prisons may invite food service inspections
Source: Associated Press, August 8, 2014

Ohio’s prisons agency is developing plans to invite local health inspections of each prison’s food service operations in the wake of complaints about problems including maggots in kitchen areas.

Prison director takes responsibility for some maggot problems
Source: Randy Ludlow, Columbus Dispatch, August 7, 2014

Union leaders and legislative aides were watching workers power-wash the kitchen of the Ohio Reformatory for Women yesterday afternoon when maggots floated out from beneath steel floor plates. Prisons Director Gary Mohr then told The Dispatch that his agency accepts shared responsibility with meal contractor Aramark Correctional Services for conditions that have spawned maggots at the Marysville prison. ….

Inmates protest maggots by throwing away lunches /Fly larvae were found under a stainless-steel serving line during a pre-meal inspection
Source: Norwalk Reflector/Columbus Dispatch, August 6, 2014

Protesting another discovery of maggots, about 1,000 inmates at the Ohio Reformatory for Women at Marysville dumped their lunches in the trash yesterday. The fly larvae were found under a stainless-steel serving line during a pre-meal inspection, and the area was sanitized, said JoEllen Smith, spokeswoman for the state Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. However, after the report circulated among the 2,700 prisoners, about 1,000 women dumped their lunches, which consisted of macaroni and ham, coleslaw, greens, an apple and bread, she said. ….. The report of maggots was the second in the Marysville prison and the eighth confirmed case in a state prison this year. Maggots also were found yesterday on a shelf near the meal serving line at the Trumbull Correctional Institution near Warren in northeastern Ohio, Smith said. …

Lawmakers Hear About Food, Security Problems In Prisons Blamed On Private Vendor
Source: Karen Kasler, Ohio Public Radio, July 30, 2014

There are problems with maggots, food shortages and contraband in state prisons, and the committee that inspects those facilities is blaming a private vendor hired by the prison system. The head of the state’s prison inspection team told lawmakers on the panel that oversees it Wednesday that there are problems with Aramark related to sanitation, food quality and supply, security training, staffing and documentation. ….. AJ Frame says he’s seen the maggot problem firsthand where he works as a corrections officer at the Noble Correctional Institution in southeast Ohio…… The Ohio Civil Service Employees Union says if the prisons department is spending resources to deal with these issues, it doubts Aramark is saving the state much money at all….

Ohio slaps 2nd fine on Aramark for prison food problems
Source: Associated Press, July 31, 2014

The state on Wednesday announced a second fine against the private vendor – Philadelphia-based Aramark – that took over the job of feeding inmates last year as the company defended its operations before a prisons oversight committee. The $130,200 fine against Aramark Correctional Services covered continued staffing shortages, unacceptable food substitutions and shortages and sanitation issues, including maggots observed in food service operations at five prisons this month and last, according to Ohio’s July 23 letter to the company….

Ohio prison director gives food vendor ultimatum after reports of maggots
Source: Randy Ludlow, Columbus Dispatch, July 31, 2014

Prison inmates are not going to give four stars to the food when the combined cost of their three daily meals amounts to less than the price of a Big Mac. However, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction director told lawmakers yesterday that its food-service vendor must clean up its act — and its food — or face the loss of its contract. Director Gary Mohr revealed that Aramark Correctional Services was fined $130,200 last week — on top of a previous $142,100 fine — for ongoing problems including lack of cleanliness, food shortages and other contract violations….

Legislative committee will hear update on complaints facing Ohio prisons food vendor
Source: Associated Press, July 30, 2014

The state on Wednesday announced a second fine against the private vendor that took over the job of feeding inmates last year as the company defended its operations before a prisons oversight committee. The $130,200 fine against Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services covered continued staffing shortages, unacceptable food substitutions and shortages and sanitation issues, including maggots observed in food service operations at five prisons this month and last, according to Ohio’s July 23 letter to the company….

Legislative committee to hear update on complaints facing Ohio prisons food vendor
Source: Associated Press, July 26, 2014

A legislative committee is getting updates on complaints facing the private food vendor that won the contract to feed Ohio inmates. Reports indicate employees with Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services have repeatedly failed to provide food or run out of it since beginning work last September.

Maggots in food among new prison food complaints
Source: Associated Press, July 15, 2014

Maggots in food, staffing shortages and reports of running out of foods are among new complaints facing the vendor that won the contract to feed Ohio inmates. Reports obtained by the Associated Press through records requests found numerous problems reported since April, when the state took the rare step of fining the vendor because of contract failures…At issue is a bigger national debate over privatizing prison services — from food preparation to the running of entire facilities — to save money at a time of squeezed state budgets. Proponents say private industry can often do the job more efficiently and more cheaply, unencumbered by union and administrative rules, while opponents say a focus on the bottom line leads to cutting corners that creates danger for inmates and employees….

Maggots in food, running out of food among new complaints facing Ohio prisons food vendor
Source: Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Associated Press, July 15, 2014

Maggots in food, staffing shortages and reports of running out of foods are among new complaints facing the vendor that won the contract to feed Ohio inmates. Reports obtained by The Associated Press through records requests found numerous problems reported since April, when the state took the rare step of fining the vendor because of contract failures. The records show 65 instances where Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services failed to provide food or ran out of it — usually the main course, such as hamburgers or chicken patties — while serving inmates, leading to delays and in some cases security concerns as inmates grew frustrated. Substitute items were provided in most cases.

Maggots found in third Ohio prison kitchen
Source: Alan Johnson, Columbus Dispatch, July 10, 2014

Maggots turned up at a third Ohio prison yesterday, prompting officials at the Noble Correctional Institution in Caldwell to shut down a food line and throw away food. The maggots, which are fly larvae, were not in the food but were seen crawling out of drains in the serving equipment on the food line, said Jo Ellen Smith, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. …. All Ohio prisons have food service provided by Aramark Correctional Services, the Philadelphia company that feeds inmates under a $110 million state contract.

Maggots Found In Food At Prisons In Marysville, Trumbull County
Source: Steve Brown, WOSU, July 8, 2014

Newly-unveiled documents show maggots have been found in food and serving equipment at two Ohio prisons. Documents obtained by the Columbus Dispatch shows Aramark Correctional Services, the private company the feeds Ohio inmates, said maggots were found in food at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville. Another report from June said live maggots were found in a warming tray at a Trumbull county prison.

Maggots found in kitchen at Trumbull Co. prison
Source: WKBN, July 8, 2014

Tuesday, an Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Spokesperson confirmed to WKBN that her department is concerned about the food service provided to several state prisons by Aramark. Ohio DRC Communications Chief JoEllen Smith said that Aramark has made plans to have a third-party organization inspect their food preparation. Workers found maggots on food preparation devices twice within the past week, once at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, Ohio and once at the Trumbull Correctional Institute in Leavittsburg, Ohio. Tuesday, the ACLU of Ohio urged the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) to end its contract with Aramark Correctional Services, the prison system’s private food vendor, according to a press release from the ACLU….

Ohio Should End Contract with Prison Private Food Vendor /New Reports of Maggots in Prison Food Emerge After Months of Problems with Aramark
Source: ACLU of Ohio, Press Release, July 8, 2014

Today, the ACLU of Ohio urged the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) to end its contract with Aramark Correctional Services, the prison system’s private food vendor, after months of documented problems. News reports on Monday indicated that maggot infestations were found in Aramark food in two Ohio prisons, including two separate incidents at the Ohio Reformatory for Women and one incident at the Trumbull Correctional Institution. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated problem for Aramark in Ohio.

Maggots found in food at two Ohio prisons
Source: Alan Johnson, Columbus Dispatch, July 8, 2014

Food and serving equipment contaminated with live maggots have been found at two Ohio prisons.  Aramark Correctional Services, the private company that feeds inmates under a $110 million state contract, said maggots found at the Ohio Reformatory for Women at Marysville on June 30 were “one issue that was resolved last week.”  However, reports obtained by The Dispatch show two previous incidents of maggots, which are fly larvae, at prisons earlier this year.   …..

Vendor fined $142,100 for prison-meal problems
Source: Randy Ludlow, Columbus Dispatch, April 19, 2014

The vendor that feeds state prison inmates was fined $142,100 yesterday for contract violations that include failing to hire enough workers to prepare and serve meals. But the union that represents the 341 government workers replaced by employees of Aramark Correctional Services claims that the problems following the privatization of prison food service go much deeper. Since Sept. 26, state officials have banned 76 Aramark employees from prisons for “serious misconduct” that includes unspecified relationships with inmates, security violations and importing contraband….

Ohio lawmaker wants private prison vendor canned
Source: Associated Press, April 21, 2014

An Ohio state lawmaker says the state prisons department should terminate its contract with a private food service operator after fining the company last week for repeatedly failing to meet promised staffing levels. Democratic state Rep. Matt Lundy said Monday that deficiencies identified in Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services’ performance reaffirm his and other opponents’ concerns about privatization. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction fined Aramark $142,100 Friday. The private food vendor took over feeding Ohio’s 50,000 prisoners from state employees in September. The contract goes to June 30, 2015. The ACLU says the fine should trigger a reevaluation of the deal….

OCSEA questions timing of food service fine; says more proof DR&C has lost control
Source: OCSEA, Press Release, April 18, 2014

With just two business days before an arbitration begins between the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association and the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction on the privatization of prison food service, the agency has fined vendor Aramark $142,000 for failing to adequately staff food operations. But the union is questioning DR&C’s motives, particularly since one of the largest arbitrations the union has ever undertaken is set to start next week. “What took them so long? It’s not as if understaffing just began. Aramark has never adequately staffed food service,” questioned OCSEA President Christopher Mabe. Prison employees have logged thousands of incidents caused by the food service changeover including: menu substitutions; food line delays; doctoring recipes; poor food quality; small portions; sanitation and food safety; cost increases; reduction in service; and security issues. The most serious issues involve the increase in security breaches, including a sharp rise in contraband, inappropriate sexual relationships between Aramark staff and inmates, as well as theft….

DR&C returns prison food service to vendor that overcharged state by $2 million in 1998 / DYS to retain state-operated food service
Source: OCSEA, Press Release, June 21, 2013

Despite a competitive bid from the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association to save 11 percent on inmate meal costs without sacrificing safety or jobs, the Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction announced that an out-of-state private company will oversee food service operation in Ohio’s state-run adult prisons. Approximately 500 food service employees will be impacted by the change. The Dept. of Youth Services will retain state-operated food service. The private company, Aramark, had previously been charged with overseeing food service operations at Noble Correctional Institution from 1998 to 2000. Their failed tenure resulted in rampant cost overruns, security problems and fraud, including charging the state for phantom inmates. With near-riot conditions as result, DR&C asked that OCSEA bring food services back in-house at a savings of 20 percent.

SOCF union expects loss of 27 food service jobs
Source: Frank Lewis, Portsmouth Daily Times, June 25, 2013

State to privatize prison food service to close budget gap
Source: Alan Johnson, Columbus Dispatch Friday June 21, 2013


Ohio will privatize prison food service this fall in a $110 million deal

Source: Stan Donaldson, Plain Dealer, June 21, 2013


Ohio Prisons Plan To Privatize Meal Service To Save Money

Source: Associated Press, June 23, 2013

…Philadelphia-based Aramark won the two-year contract with a bid to spend about $3.61 per day per inmate, the state said….

State skips union, picks private food service
Source: Alan Johnson, Columbus Dispatch, June 23, 2013

Ohio farms out its prison food to a private contractor / The prison workers’ union says that discounts special security training state food-workers have
Source: WKSU, June 21, 2013

Could Ohio’s plan to privatize prison food cause deadly riots to erupt?
Source: Julie Kent, Cleveland Dealer, February 11, 2013

Governor John Kasich is planning to hire a private food vendor to feed the 50,179 inmates in the Ohio prison system in an effort to cut costs. The Kasich administration argues that outsourcing prison food will save the state as much as $16 million, but some suggest that it could come with another kind of cost and put the safety of its prison workers in jeopardy.

Switching to a private vendor to supply the state’s prisons with food could make notoriously unappetizing prison food even more unappealing. Private vendors, unlike state-run cafeterias, are permitted to skip the federal nutrition guideliens for school lunches at the juvenile detention facilities that they serve. They’re permitted to skimp on food quantity, quality, and staffing, all in the name of profit….

DRC calls for cutbacks and outsourcing at state prisons
Source: Frank Lewis, Portsmouth Daily Times, February 6, 2013

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction will look for ways to cut costs and that will mean, among other things, a Request for Proposal for prison food service operations statewide. In a letter to prison officials, DRC Director Gary Mohr said austerity measures are going to be required nearly across the board and among those costs is food service within prisons such as Southern Ohio Correctional facility at Lucasville.

Controversial private school tuition program could start in January /Tax credits could give low-income students options, if businesses step forward

Source: Celia Llopis-Jepsen, Topeka capital-Journal, September 27, 2014

The groundwork is largely in place for a new tax-credit system that could fund private school tuition for low-income students starting in January, state education officials say. Deputy education commissioner Dale Dennis says the Kansas State Department of Education has worked on creating regulations and application forms to comply with the tuition program created by the Legislature in April…. The private school program was one of several controversial changes to state education policy that lawmakers included in the H.B. 2506 school finance bill together with court-ordered funding for schools. Under the program, nonprofit organizations can collect donations from businesses to fund scholarships that would move low-income children from public schools with low test scores to private schools. The businesses would receive a tax credit that subtracts 70 percent of the amount they donated off their bill for state corporate income tax, privilege tax (for financial institutions) or premium tax (for insurance companies)….

Mayor eyes return to trash pickup by city /Collins irked by Toledo’s deal with Republic

Source: Ignazio Messina, Toledo Blade, September 29, 2014

Three years after Toledo got out of the trash-collection business and went through Lucas County to hire a private firm for garbage pick-up citywide, Mayor D. Michael Collins is mulling over a way to get back into that business. Mayor Collins as a district councilman opposed privatization pushed through by former Mayor Mike Bell in 2011. Like other things he opposed as a councilman, Mayor Collins is now scrutinizing the arrangement. A sticking point for him is the roughly $670,000 extra the city will have to pay Republic Services of Erie, Mich. The monthly trash fee residents pay will generate $8.8 million this year, but the company’s bill will total about $9.4 million…. The mayor thinks the contract between Lucas County and Republic, which was called Allied Waste Services in 2011, was too favorable for the Michigan-based firm. The agreement stipulates that the city is responsible for the company’s bill and billing residents the monthly fee, he said. The five-year deal with Republic, with an option to renew for up to five more years, includes an annual 3 percent increase and a separate increase if the cost of diesel fuel exceeds $4 a gallon for the company. At the time, the cost for diesel was below $4, but now it is above….
Related:
City of Toledo considers privatizing trash collection
Source: Laura Rice, NBC24, February 14, 2011

The City of Toledo is considering privatizing trash pickup and putting it under the control of Lucas County but not everyone is sold on this idea….But some city council members feel this is a big waste since just over a year ago Toledo spent $20 million to revamp and automate pickup. They also worry a private company could put too must cost on consumers.

Pa. court hands union defeat in battle over privatization at Lebanon County’s nursing home

Source: Matt Miller, pennlive.com, September 23, 2014

Just days before the $25.5 million sale of Lebanon County’s Cedar Haven nursing home is to become final, county officials have won a state court battle with a union over the privatization of the facility’s food service. Commonwealth Court upheld that dietary department privatization in a decision issued Tuesday. The state court turned aside an appeal by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which claimed county officials breached AFSCME’s contract by unilaterally deciding to bring in an outside firm to run Cedar Haven’s food service in 2012. Numerous union members lost their jobs when Culinary Services Group took over Cedar Haven’s dietary department in February 2013. CSG hired about half of the nursing home’s county-employed dietary staff. County officials said the food service privatization would save about $500,000 a year, largely through wage and benefit reductions compared to what the county had paid its workers….The state judges took on the matter even though county officials argued that the pending sale of Cedar Haven – scheduled for completion on Sept. 30 – had rendered the dispute over the food service privatization moot. County commissioners voted in June to sell the 324-bed home to Complete HealthCare Resources of Montgomery County….
Related:
Cedar Haven employees ink contract with new owner
Source: John Latimer, Lebanon Daily News, August 21, 2014

The union representing employees of Cedar Haven has negotiated a contract with the incoming owners of the nursing home, but not everyone is thrilled with the results. After two days of negotiations on Aug. 5 and 6, representatives of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees came to terms with Complete HealthCare Resources on a two-year contract that will give employees annual 2 percent pay increases. The contract will automatically renew in subsequent years unless one side calls for renegotiating the deal….

Lebanon County union files grievance with Cedar Haven over outsourcing
Source: John Latimer, Lebanon Daily News, February 5, 2013

The union representing about 40 Cedar Haven kitchen workers has filed a labor grievance with the county for privatizing dietary services at the South Lebanon Township nursing home. Mike Fox, director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 89, said the county’s decision to hire Maryland-based Culinary Services Group to provide meals at Cedar Haven violated the employees’ contract….

…Fox questioned that amount because, he said, it referred to the base-contract figure of $2.26 million per year, which does not include additional charges for things like specialty meals provided to patients for medical reasons and meals for guests. When those expenses are added in, Fox said, the bottom line might be closer to the $3 million figure it cost the county to provide dietary services at the nursing home….Fox also took issue with the county for hiring CSG without a competitive bidding process and without informing the existing employees, who might have been willing to make concessions to save their jobs….

Residents blast proposal to privatize Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabilitation

Source: News 12, September 29, 2014

Hundreds of people attended a public hearing in Goshen Monday about whether the county should get rid of a health care facility in order to save taxpayers money. Members of the legislature proposed privatizing the county-owned Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabilitation. Some Orange County residents took the microphone and blasted the idea. … But, workers and patients are fearful about what the move could mean for their future. County legislators have scheduled a vote in November to decide whether or not to privatize Valley View. Opponents of it say they plan to fight it every step of the way. …
Related:
Second suit filed to halt Valley View sale /Union seeks to invalidate April vote
Source: Chris McKenna, Times Herald-Record, June 25, 2014

A second lawsuit has been filed to stop Orange County’s latest effort to privatize its nursing home, which already has been successfully challenged in court but appears to be moving forward in spite of the ruling. The new case by the Civil Service Employees Association seeks again to invalidate the Legislature’s April 9 vote to transfer the Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabilitation to a local development corporation, which was created to sell the home….But the 22-page petition adds further objections. The union’s attorneys contend, for instance, that the county couldn’t transfer the 360-bed nursing home to Orange Valley View Development Corp. without the state commissioner of health’s approval, under the state Public Health Law….

Neuhaus to Appeal Judge’s Rule on Valley View Transfer
Source: Jessica Chen, Time Warner Cable News, June 17, 2014

News of the ruling by state Supreme Court Justice, Elaine Slobod, came down Tuesday. Slobod decided the legislature’s 12-9 vote in April to transfer the nursing home to a Local Development Corporation, also known as LDC, was invalid….President of the CSEA, Danny Donohue, who represents workers at Valley View released a statement, praising the ruling, “the transfer of public nursing facilities to the control of a LDC, which have no accountability to the public, represents an abandonment of responsibility by public officials.”…

Orange County seeks to have challenge to Valley View LDC dismissed
Source: MidHudsonNews.com, May 13, 2014

Attorneys for Orange County Government filed papers on Monday asking State Supreme Court to dismiss an Article 78 proceeding filed against the county for its creation of a local development corporation to determine the future of the county’s Valley View nursing home. The suit was filed by a number of county CSEA employees, including those who work at the nursing home….

Lawyer makes good on promise, files lawsuit against Orange County over Valley View vote
Source: Midhudsonnews.com, April 17, 2014

Saying the issue of removing the Valley View nursing home out of county hands is “more than a legal issue; it’s a moral issue,” attorney Michael Sussman Wednesday filed an Article 78 proceeding against the county for its creation of a local development corporation to dispose of the facility. Representing several individuals in the suit, including county employees, Sussman challenged the county legislature’s majority vote to create an LDC. He maintains under state law, a super-majority of two-thirds of the members, is needed for such a move if drafted as a resolution. A simple majority vote last week approved the transfer.

Sussman promises lawsuit over Valley View
Source: Midhudsonnews.com, April 10, 2014

Civil rights attorney Michael Sussman was one of many who spoke in opposition to creating an LDC to oversee the future of the county nursing home. He who blasted the elected officials saying they supported one position before election last fall and then changed once in office. Sussman threatened to sue the legislature if the LDC was approved …. One CSEA officer, Annie Beth Moran, urged lawmakers to table the decision to allow negotiations to continue with givebacks by the union to save the county money.

Orange lawmakers take step toward sale of county nursing home
Source: Daily Freeman, April 10, 2014

Orange County legislators voted 12-9 Wednesday night to create a local development corporation to address the future of the Valley View nursing home. The vote came after much debate and public comment with nursing home residents and CSEA union members, who work there, opposing the move. The LDC model is styled after the method by which Ulster County sold its Golden Hill nursing home last year….

Union offers wage freeze to help save Valley View
Source: Chris McKenna, Times Herald-Record, April 8, 2014

The union representing about 1,950 Orange County employees has offered to forego raises for three years to try to stave off the possible privatization of the county-owned Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabilitation. Sabina Shapiro, president of two Orange County units of the Civil Service Employees Association, made the offer public during a marathon hearing Friday, telling county legislators and a large crowd in Goshen the union had proposed a six-year deal with no retroactive raises for 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Donnery says Neuhaus wears ‘many masks’ – Speaks out against his Valley View plan
Source: Gittel Evangelist, Times Herald-Record, October 30, 2013

Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, Orange County executive candidate Roxanne Donnery said, her opponent’s idea to spin off the county’s nursing home to a separate agency betrays his true intention to privatize it. Donnery and her supporters in the CSEA — the union that represents the nursing home’s workers — held a news conference Tuesday evening to speak out against Republican Steve Neuhaus’ interest in transferring control of Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabilitation to a local development corporation. …While true that Benton and Berardinelli have maintained support for selling the nursing home, both voted along with the legislative majority last week to fund Valley View for a full year. … Moreover, say Donnery and the labor leaders who support her, Ulster County transferred its nursing home, Golden Hill, to an LDC for precisely the purpose of selling it; the same thing happened in Rockland County. Donnery points out that Neuhaus received a $1,000 campaign donation from Harris Beach, the law firm that formed the LDCs that took over both those counties’ nursing homes. …

Union balks at latest contract proposal Negotiations called for Valley View concessions
Source: Chris Mckenna Times Herald-Record, June 20, 2013

In a pair of surprising twists, Orange County officials have resumed contract talks with the union representing more than 2,000 county workers, but hit a snag after quickly reaching what they and the union’s president thought was a promising deal. Negotiations had dissolved in acrimony in April, with County Executive Ed Diana declaring an impasse and complaining the Civil Service Employees Association had made costly, unrealistic demands. ….. With talks now in mediation, county officials contacted the union last week and hammered out a proposal so swiftly that Diana shared the terms with county lawmakers in a closed-door meeting on Monday, and the union president, William Oliphant, presented them to his 11-member negotiating committee on Tuesday.

Diana believes Valley View bailout will cost another $20 million
Source: Mid-Hudson News Network, April 15, 2013

As the fate of the Orange County-owned Valley View nursing home remains in limbo, the county legislature believes it will take about $45 million to cover the operating expenses of the Goshen facility through the end of the year. That will be covered by taxation, Medicare and Medicaid and private pay residents, said County Executive Edward Diana, who believes the cost, through the end of the year, will be closer to $60 million. … Diana maintains his position that the county should sell the nursing home, but has met resistance from county legislators and the CSEA, which represents the employees at the facility.

Down to the wire on fate of Valley View
Source: Mid-Hudson News Network, December 10, 2012

Leadership of the union representing the Orange County employees at the Valley View nursing home on Monday said they are upset with the way last minute negotiations are going with the county as the fate of the facility hangs in the balance. County Executive Edward Diana’s 2012 budget provides funding for the nursing home for one month after which it would have to be sold or closed. The county legislature will convene on Wednesday to pass final judgment on the spending plan.

Orange County legislature votes to keep Valley View open
Source: Elaina Athans, YNN, November 14, 2012

Orange County’s legislators voted to keep Valley View Nursing Home open another year. They amend a proposed budget that originally called for the facility’s closure. … CSEA represents the majority of the workforces and the union president’s says he will make concessions to keep operational costs low…. Also, the same day the legislature voted to keep Valley View open, Diana contacted the other union that oversees the management end of Valley View. He notified them services were no longer needed in the new year.

Valley View committee in final stretch of its investigatory hearings
Source: Mid-Hudson News Network, August 9, 2012

The committee of lawmakers looking into the financial picture of the Orange County-owned Valley View nursing home is in its final week of hearings before it begins to compile a final report to submit to the full legislature. Chairwoman Roxanne Donnery and the committee interviewed two CSEA directors during Wednesday’s session, Robert Compani and Steven Alviene, on the privatization trend of nursing homes in the state. They spoke on the recent sale of the Fulton County Residential Health Care Facility, which was purchased by Centers for Specialty Care in April, one of the top candidates in line for Valley View. The company has also purchased once county-owned nursing homes in Essex and Washington counties.

According to the union heads, the results were less than ideal in Fulton.On the day of the purchase, the nursing home went from 210 employees to 170. Many left for other jobs, or because they had no knowledge of what their contract would look like under a new employer. While retained employees’ salaries did not change, new hires were brought in at a reduced salary; LPNs went from $16.25 per hour to $14, and certified nursing assistants from over $10 to $9.50, said Compani….

Union official rips Valley View bidder / Takeover sees staff exodus, rise in cost of health care
Source: Chris Mckenna, Times Herald-Record, August 9, 2012

Nursing home report hardens positions / Diana warns of layoffs, tax hikes
Source: Chris Mckenna, Times Herald-Record, August 2, 2012

Valley View’s true costs hard to pin down / Hearings off to a rocky start
Source: Chris Mckenna, Times Herald-Record, July 22, 2012

Witnesses blast OAS management
Source: Edie Johnson, Chronicle, July 13, 2012

Opinion: DOT’s math on privatization adds up to ‘no deal’

Source: Ledger-Enquirer, September 22, 2014

….This much is unarguable: If “privatizing,” as the term has been coined, costs more than the government function cost taxpayers in the first place, then it’s a bad idea no matter what function we’re talking about. That, apparently, is the case with the Georgia Department of Transportation — or rather, would have been the case if a DOT committee hadn’t done its homework. The department was considering a contract for janitorial and other services at highway welcome centers and rest areas. The DOT sent out a request for proposals, and received two bids, one for $37.7 million and the other for $36.5 million. Except that, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Transportation Board’s Public-Private Partnership (P3) Committee determined that the DOT could employ people to do the same work for $27.8 million….

Iron County considering potential privatization of ambulance service

Source: Devan Chavez, St George News, September 22, 2014

Over 40 ambulance workers, Iron County officials and community members packed into the Iron County Commission chambers Monday to voice concerns regarding the possible privatization of the ambulance service. These options include possibly handing the ambulance service over to a privatized company
On Thursday, Iron County Commissioner David Miller sent out a letter to all employees of the Iron County Ambulance division. In the letter, Miller wrote that the Board of Commissioners was currently evaluating alternative options to ambulance services after the Iron County Ambulance running in significant deficits for several years. These options include possibly handing the ambulance service over to a privatized company. … Franta also said he had concerns over the commissioners not including Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson or the Cedar City Council in the negotiation given that a private company would be making money within the Cedar City Area. Franta also raised questions about whether the members of the public would have the opportunity to weigh in on the issue. …“It would be a disaster to go with privatization,” March said. “I have worked in the private (division) and private is for profit. They cut corners.”…