Union County has handed housekeeping and dietary services at the county-operated Runnells Specialized Hospital to a private company, a move that will result in 80 layoffs but save a little more than $2 million over the 16-month contract, officials said…. Last week, the county awarded Sodexo, a Maryland-based company, the housekeeping and dietary services, which will save $443,000 for the remainder of this year and approximately $1.6 million next year, Freeholder Daniel Sullivan said….
Because many local government budgets have been strapped in recent years, funding for corporate incentives and other job attraction tools has been scarce. To overcome that challenge, a number of local governments have turned to public-private partnerships to fund projects and create jobs….
The privatization of public goods and services turns basic human needs into products to buy and sell. That’s more than a joke, it’s an insult, it’s a perversion. It generally benefits only a privileged group of businesspeople and their companies while increasing inequality and undermining the common good.
Various studies have identified the ‘benefits’ of privatization as profitability and productivity, efficiency, wider share ownership and good investment returns. These are business benefits. More balanced studies consider the effects on average people, who have paid into a long-established societal support system for their schools and emergency services, water and transportation systems, and eventually health care and retirement benefits. These studies have concluded that:
– Privatization has generated large profits for new owners but these have not been shared with the general public.
– The potential benefits of privatization are often outweighed by high contracting costs and opportunism.
– Most privatization programs appear to have worsened the distribution of assets and income, at least in the short run….
…For several years, privatizing city garbage pick-up has been a sticking point between the city and Local 2405. It’s now among the issues being addressed in arbitration between the city and union over a new contract. Republican Mayor Richard A. Moccia has said that privatization would save the city $750,000 a year. He has said the garbage haulers would be transformed to other jobs within the department rather than be laid off….
Nebraska’s last private child welfare contractor will get less money this year to care for abused and neglected children in the Omaha area. Starting July 1, the state began paying the Omaha-based Nebraska Families Collaborative by the case instead of a fixed amount per month. The change, according to a World-Herald analysis, means the difference between a potential $65 million for the year and an estimated $58 million under the new contract….
…The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services contracts with the collaborative to manage child welfare and juvenile-services cases for Douglas and Sarpy Counties. The collaborative contract is all that remains of the state’s 2½-year experiment with privatizing child welfare services. State workers again manage cases in the rest of the state….
Top Nebraska officials plan to change course on child welfare after the state’s experiment in privatization suffered a major blow Tuesday. The Kansas-based KVC announced that the company will stop managing child welfare cases as of Feb. 29. The announcement leaves the state with only one private contractor, [Omaha-based Nebraska Families Collaborative] meaning that state workers will once again be responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of the majority of abused and neglected Nebraska children. But, in a key difference from past practice, State Department of Health and Human Services officials plan to hire enough workers to keep caseloads at manageable levels….
KVC had sought contract changes that would have increased the state’s costs by well over the $19 million figure, HHS officials said….KVC officials previously said they had lost $14 million on their contract with Nebraska. The company threatened last fall to drop its contract at the end of December but agreed to continue after the state provided an additional $1.8 million and promised to negotiate on the case rates….
- Child welfare changes a step closer
Source: Martha Stoddard, World-Herald, March 8, 2012
- NE turns to more traditional child welfare system
Source:: Grant Schulte, Associated Press, April 15, 2012
From the abstract:
This backgrounder brief explores ALEC’s privatization agenda in a variety of sectors with a particular focus on what its corporate members stand to gain from increased privatization. It also provides summary highlights from In The Public Interest’s forthcoming report, “Profiting from Public Dollars: How ALEC and its members promote privatization of government services and assets.”
The city’s decision to file for bankruptcy protection has reignited the debate about whether the city, as a potential cost-cutting measure, should dissolve its police and fire departments and contract with the county for those services… Officials at the San Bernardino County sheriff’s and fire departments said San Bernardino city officials have not approached them on the subject of contracting with their agencies for police and fire services. … Miller and Simpson also recommended in their report that the Police Department contract with adjacent communities for dispatch and other services. Among the cities that have already done so include Brea, Whittier and Maywood, according to the report. …
Twelve Waste Pro USA employees were arrested Wednesday after state investigators received information suggesting workers there submitted fraudulent Social Security numbers for employment purposes, according to affidavits released Thursday.
Sixteen months after the Montgomery County Mental Health Treatment Facility opened in Conroe, the state’s first publicly funded, privately run psychiatric hospital is facing at least $53,000 in state fines for serious shortcomings in patient care. The private operator, Geo Care, is a subsidiary of Geo Group, a private prison company that has drawn attention in recent years because of deaths, riots and sexual abuse at some units in Texas and other states….
…The problems come to light as the Department of State Health Services prepares to privatize one of the 10 public psychiatric hospitals it oversees. If Geo Care bids on the ongoing privatization effort — and it has expressed interest to public officials in doing so — its work in Montgomery County could be a harbinger of what taxpayers can expect if a for-profit company wins control of a public state hospital…The privatization process also comes at a time when the public psychiatric hospitals are mired in their own problems. Last month, former Austin State Hospital psychiatrist Charles Fischer was indicted by a Travis County grand jury on charges that he sexually abused five patients under his care at the facility….
….Local elected officials are currently pondering whether to participate in a countywide police consolidation plan. Municipalities have until Aug. 1 to indicate whether they intend to join, although that deadline may be flexible…..So far, no town has volunteered. Several have said they are studying it. Bedminster, Franklin and Peapack-Gladstone have ruled out their involvement. An earlier effort this year to create a regional police force for the city of Camden remains stuck in the discussion phase…..