Another area where privatization has taken place in Florida is the operation of adult prisons. The professed potential for cost savings and improved effectiveness when prisons are privatized had a strong appeal to policy-makers. However, the process implemented to gauge compliance with these policy objectives in Florida is flawed and as a result the evidence to show that private prisons cost less to operate or are more effective at reducing recidivism than public prisons is questionable.
The city’s plan to end a 13-year arrangement with a company that runs Buffalo’s water system and sign a new deal with an operator based in France moved forward Wednesday.
…. City officials said they’re convinced Veolia will provide better customer service at a lower price.
…. American Water Services has operated the city’s system since 1997. While AWS garnered positive reviews in its early years, some city officials and consumer advocates claimed customer service has slipped more recently.
City Manager Denny Kief has advice for communities that are tempted to sell their water systems to ease budget woes: “Be very cautious.” Pekin, a city of 34,000, doesn’t own its water system. If it did, Kief believes, rates would be lower and extending water lines to an expansion of Pekin’s industrial park and along a new bypass would be less complicated.
Most important, he says, owning such a crucial part of its infrastructure would mean Pekin could “control our own destiny.” Kief’s monthly bill at home is about $42, including about $12 in sewer fees that goes to the city.
…. American Water CEO Don Correll says rates also are rising for city-owned systems. As systems age and costs rise, he says, cities weigh benefits of ownership against the need to pay teachers and police and fix roads.
Happy Monday! The U.S. Postal Service’s current business model “is not viable” and the mail agency should make deeper job and wage cuts, hire more part-time staff and consider outsourcing operations, according to a draft of a government audit acquired by The Federal Eye.
FPS faces a number of challenges in managing its guard contractors that hamper its ability to protect federal facilities. FPS requires contractors to provide guards who have met training and certification requirements. FPS’s guard contract also states that a contractor who does not comply with the contract is subject to enforcement action. GAO reviewed the official contract files for the seven contractors who, as GAO testified in July 2009, had guards performing on contracts with expired certification and training requirements to determine what action, if any, FPS had taken against these contractors for contract noncompliance.
…. Over the past decade, prison and jail officials have been turning to private for-profit companies to cut the cost of feeding prisoners. Leading the way in contracted food services is Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services. Other prison food service firms include A’Viands Food & Services Management, ABL Management, and U.K.-based Compass Group’s Canteen Correctional Services and Trinity Services Group. ….. Food is a basic necessity and failure to provide adequate meals can lead to health-related problems or even violence by hungry and frustrated prisoners. In many cases, though, providing decent prison and jail food is an unappetizing prospect for government officials, who are increasingly cutting costs at the expense of prisoners’ waistlines. Which is an unhealthy practice that is hard to stomach.
It can be a hugely controversial local issue when officials consider contracting with Library Systems & Services, LLC (LSSI), the only company that offers turnkey private library management, but a March 27 program, billed as “Outsourcing Public Library Services: Pros and Cons,” was mainly a humdrum sales pitch from LSSI, with fewer than 40 people in attendance.
LSSI put its best foot forward, highlighting a locally successful effort in Jackson County, OR. However, there was no one on the panel to offer any rebuttal, which left several people in the audience baffled and dissatisfied.
State and local governments finance millions of jobs across our economy with the hundreds of billions of dollars they spend each year to purchase goods and services. Yet jobs created through government contracting are often substandard, paying very low wages and involving poor working conditions where employment law violations are common. Such jobs not only hurt America’s workers; they also undermine the quality of goods and services delivered to government agencies and the public, and often result in significant hidden costs for taxpayers.
…. This toolkit outlines reforms that can improve the quality of the jobs generated by government contracting and supplements other contracting reform blueprints that chiefly focus on improving transparency and accountability.