Source: By GLEN JOHNSON, The Associated Press (MA) June 21, 2010, 12:15PM
Transportation officials are examining how much money Massachusetts might save if they have state employees do more highway snow removal instead of the current patchwork of private contractors.
Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Mullan said Monday the $57.5 million the state is preparing to spend this coming winter is ripe for scrutiny because it’s one of his bigger budget line items. And that figure is below historical averages: Massachusetts spent $66 million for plowing last winter and has spent an average of $76 million annually during the past five years.
Source: John Forrer, James Edwin Kee, Kathryn E. Newcomer, Eric Boyer; Public Administration Review, Volume 70 Issue 3, Pages 475 – 484 May/June 2010
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are growing in popularity as a governing model for delivery of public goods and services. PPPs have existed since the Roman Empire, but their expansion into traditional public projects today raises serious questions about public accountability. This article examines public accountability and its application to government and private firms involved in PPPs. An analytical framework is proposed for assessing the extent to which PPPs provide (or will provide) goods and services consistent with public sector goals of effectiveness, efficiency, and equity. Six dimensions–risk, costs and benefits, political and social impacts, expertise, collaboration, and performance measurement–are incorporated into a model that assists public managers in improving partnerships’ public accountability.
Source: By Nick Anderson and Daniel de Vise, Washington Post, Wednesday, June 16, 2010; A02
The Obama administration proposed to tighten oversight of the booming for-profit sector of higher education on Tuesday, with rules that aim to curtail aggressive recruiting practices and that require schools to disclose graduation and job-placement rates to prospective students.
But in its notice of proposed rulemaking, the Education Department omitted a draft measure, under debate for several months, that would cut federal aid to those schools if graduates on average spend more than 8 percent of their starting salaries to repay loans.
Source: By Nathan Waggenspack, Dayton Daily News (OH) Thursday, June 17, 2010
Corrections employees from Dayton called legislators Wednesday, June 16, to protest a bill that could lead to more state prisons being run by private companies.
The bill at hand is Senate Bill 269, which would create a Prison Privatization Commission to privatize at least half the state’s correctional facilities by the end of 2011.
…. Employees who are members of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association gathered across the street from the Montgomery Education Pre-release Center, 1901 S. Gettysburg Ave., and made the calls to their representatives Wednesday, June 16.
Source: by Mike Hall, AFL-CIO blog, Jun 16, 2010
Union and community activists in Trenton, N.J., rallied voters with door-to-door campaigning to beat back the New Jersey American Water Company’s nearly $250,000 advertising and mail blitz to privatize a prized and profitable part of the city’s water system.
In a referendum yesterday, voters rejected, 6,968 to 1,812, a proposal to sell to American Water the city’s municipally owned Trenton Water Works suburban infrastructure–pipes, water towers and tanks. Said Bob Houser of the Utility Workers (UWUA):
Source: By Jackie Harrison-Martin, News Herald (MI) Tuesday, June 15, 2010
”This is their worst fear, and this was our worst fear.”
Those were the words of school board President Alvin Szczepaniak on the decision Wednesday by the Board of Education to privatize transportation and custodial/maintenance work in the district.
… First Student, based in Ohio, and GCA Services Group, based out of Illinois, will handle the transportation and custodial/maintenance services, respectively.
…. Smith said the bus drivers have been hired by the company at the same pay rate received through the district. However, many in transportation and custodial/maintenance will have to pay a portion of their health insurance.
Source: By REBECCA BOONE, Associated Press, Jun 1, 2010
BOISE, Idaho — The state is ordering private prison company Correction Corporation of America to pay thousands of dollars and fix problems with drug and alcohol treatment and medical care at the Idaho Correctional Center.
Ten of 13 drug and alcohol counselors at the prison near Boise aren’t qualified to provide treatment under CCA’s contract with the state, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.
… Among other problems found in the audits, inmates in the prison’s infirmary were sometimes left alone, without any working pager or call-light system to call a nurse or doctor in an emergency. They also were going too long between medical checks by nursing staff, according to the records.
Source: By Bill Bush, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH (OH), Tuesday, June 8, 2010 11:19 PM
Like a stubborn foreman with a hung jury, Columbus school board President Carol Perkins pushed her colleagues tonight to debate the details of a $14.2 million-a-year bus contract again and again.
….. That means First Student – the company that shut down the district for a day in 2007 after one of its drivers was caught with a cocaine-filled syringe – will be the sole private bus contractor for the district until 2013.
The company will not let the district down, said Roger Moore, First Student regional vice president, after winning the three-year contract on the 4-3 vote.
Source: Christopher R. Berry, Martin R. West, Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization, Vol. 26, Issue 1, 2010
From the abstract:
Between 1930 and 1970, average school size in the United States increased from 87 to 440 students and average district size increased from 170 to 2300 students, as over 120,000 schools and 100,000 districts were eliminated through consolidation. We exploit variation in the timing of consolidation across states to estimate the effects of changing school and district size on student outcomes using data from the Public-Use Micro-Sample of the 1980 US census. Students educated in states with smaller schools obtained higher returns to education and completed more years of schooling. Reduced form estimates confirm that students from states with larger schools earned significantly lower wages later in life. Although larger districts were associated with modestly higher returns to education and increased educational attainment in most specifications, any gains from the consolidation of districts were far outweighed by the harmful effects of larger schools.
Source: AFSCME Council 31 On The Move, April 2010 (see p. 11)
When a new and unwelcome boss came in, 22 therapists, psychologists and counselors who work with sex offenders at the Kewanee Youth Center fought and won. By choosing AFSCME representation, the workers eventually upended the vendor that once employed them and be new state employees.
….. “We did the research and we were able to show the state that it wouldn’t cost them any money to hire the frontline employees and get rid of ABTC.” In addition, the turnover would go down, and with a more stable workforce, services would be improved. The state agreed. By July 1 the workers will be state employees, covered by the AFSCME master contract, and ABTC will be gone from Kewanee