Monthly Archives: January 2012

Prison Health Care Contractor Under Scrutiny

Source: A.J. Higgins, Maine Public Broadcasting Network, January 6, 2012

The president of the Maine chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said a state agency review of a company that provides medical services to Maine prison inmates documented problems that rise to “a systemic constitutional dimension.”…Last year’s review of the state’s contract with Corizon produced some of the most dramatic findings ever identified by the agency. The company that oversees the delivery of medical services at most Maine prison facilities was found to have failed to adequately fulfill many of its contractual obligations. The report concluded that 50% of Corizon’s medication records were in error and that records could not even be found for nearly 10% of the prisoners treated. Staff training was insufficient according to the OPEGA report which said many of the prisoners never received their annual physical exams. Now, after an eight-year relationship with the state, Corizon’s $12 million annual contract may be in jeopardy and for the first time, the company will have to compete with other firms for the state’s business.
See also:
Health Care Services in State Correctional Facilities – Weaknesses Exist in MDOC’s Monitoring of Contractor Compliance and Performance; New Administration is Undertaking Systemic Changes
Source: Office of Program Evaluation & Government Accountability
of the Maine State Legislature, Final Report, Report No. SR-MEDSERV-09, November 2011

Kennedy backs public-private partnership, tolls to complete I-49 South

Source: Nicholas Persac, Advertiser, January 11, 2012

Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy wants the state to “get serious” about extending Interstate 49 from Lafayette to New Orleans, where U.S. Highway 90 currently runs, and he is urging the state to consider a public-private partnership to complete the new roadway before the current one is no longer usable….The I-49 South project comes with a $5.2 billion price tag, Kennedy said, and neither the state nor the federal government can provide such hefty funding. To secure those dollars, Kennedy suggested turning to an infrastructure investment fund, or IIF.

Reagan Republicans to Push Idaho Liquor Privatization

Source: John Miller, Associated Press, January 24, 2012

A grocery-industry lobbying group won’t push a liquor privatization ballot measure in 2012, but a second group emerged Monday and announced it will try to get an initiative before Idaho voters in November. The Idaho Federation of Reagan Republicans submitted a citizen’s initiative to the secretary of state’s office that would privatize liquor sales in Idaho and eliminate the state Liquor Division….Meanwhile, the Northwest Grocery Association, which said earlier this month it was exploring a similar ballot measure, now plans to hold off until at least the 2013 Legislature.

Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper recommends Pinnacol privatization with tweaks

Source: Tim Hoover, Denver Post, January 27, 2012

Gov. John Hickenlooper is recommending the privatization of Pinnacol Assurance, the state-chartered workers’ compensation insurance fund, despite the ongoing concerns of business groups.

However, Hickenlooper also is recommending a few tweaks to the proposal, giving the state a slightly larger ownership stake in what would be the newly privatized mutual assurance company and creating a new fund for injured workers.
Colorado lawmakers haven’t given up on Pinnacol privatization deal
Source: Tim Hoover, Denver Post, March 15, 2012

Flint Emergency Manager Michael Brown says selling city water and sewer systems can’t be ruled out

Source: Ron Fonger, Flint Journal, January 29, 2012

The city’s emergency manager is considering selling off Flint’s water and sewer plants to the highest bidder, potentially generating a one-time windfall of millions of dollars to help steady the city’s shaky finances….Brown isn’t discussing specifics, including whether a sale might involve the entire water and sewer systems, including the pipes that carry waste and water to homes and businesses….
Union contract concessions, privatization among priorities of Flint emergency manager Michael Brown
Source: Kristin Longley,, February 21, 2012

In Privatizing Liquor Operations, States Hope They Can Drink Down Deficits

Source: Matt Sledge, Huffington Post, January 27, 2012

Proponents of liquor privatization in at least eight states hope they can drink their budget deficit pain away.

Privatization, which would do away with post-Prohibition regulations on the sale of distilled spirits, could herald a new era of easy access to liquor and perhaps cheaper prices. The move is being aggressively supported in some states by big box retailers like Costco, which are hoping to get a cut of the liquor market. But opponents say the onetime cash infusion that would come from selling off liquor licenses would sacrifice the revenue generated by state monopolies on liquor sales or distribution.

MDTA announces public-private partnership to redevelop & operate I-95 Travel Plazas

Source: Maryland Transportation Authority, Press Release, January 23, 2012

The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Board today voted to approve an innovative 35-year agreement with Areas USA MDTP, LLC, to redevelop and operate the two aging travel plazas along the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95) in northeast Maryland. The agreement is the State’s newest public-private partnership (P3) following the award-winning P3 agreement with a private partner to improve and operate Seagirt Marine Terminal at the Port of Baltimore.

Puerto Rico Launches A Correctional Facility PPP Project

Source: Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnership Authority, Press Release, January 26, 2012

The Public-Private Partnership Authority (the “PPPA”), together with the
Puerto Rico Juvenile Institutions Administration (the “JIA”), has completed the initial step in the preparation for Puerto Rico’s first social infrastructure project under the P3 legislation enacted in June 2009. Specifically, the PPPA has released a feasibility and value for money analysis for a design-build-finance-maintain project for a juvenile social treatment facility in Puerto Rico.
See also:
Desirability and Convenience Study for a New Juvenile Social Treatment Facility
Source: Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnership Authority, January 2012

Eau Claire school district may look at outsourcing some services

Source: McLean Bennett, Leader-Telegram, January 25, 2012

The Eau Claire school district could outsource some of its services someday, an idea that could save schools money but put present workers’ jobs at risk.

The ability to outsource jobs could become part of the district’s new employee handbook, a document expected to eventually replace collectively bargained contracts. The school board must approve the handbook before it can take effect in July, when bargained contracts expire.

The union contracts prohibit the district from hiring outside companies to provide services – such as custodial, clerical or food – in schools, said Fred Weissenburger, the district’s human resources director. But the handbook, he said, could reverse that, allowing schools to hire outside companies to provide those and other types of services.

Invisible Hands: the Businessmen’s Campaign to Dismantle the Post Office

Source: Steve Hutkins, In These Times, January 25, 2012

This piece originally appeared at Save the Post Office.

The plans for reforming the Postal Service are no secret. Its leaders have detailed them clearly in white papers, speeches and appearances before Congressional committees: eliminate the layoff protections in union contracts, cut the career workforce by nearly half while tripling the number of non-career workers, reduce service standards for first-class mail, do away with Saturday delivery, give management control of workers’ benefit plans, consolidate away over 250 processing plants and close 15,000 post offices.

What we don’t see very often are the players making this all happen. We assume the Postmaster General is making the decisions, but he is merely the front man.

Behind him are the USPS Board of Governors, the mail industry stakeholders and the corporate class as a whole. Cutting the workforce, closing post offices and plants and moving toward privatization through outsourcing and divestiture of assets — these are all part of an effort to shape the postal system in ways that serve the interests of an elite business class rather than the good of the country as a whole. The free-market ideology and greed for profits that drove efforts to undo the New Deal are driving the “postal reform” movement today.