Author Archives: Info Center

Sacramento Co. buckles under labor opposition to privatized airport screening

Source: Josh Hicks, Washington Post, January 9, 2013

Sacramento County’s board of supervisors on Tuesday rescinded a nearly year-old decision to use corporate airport screeners in place of federal employees at Sacramento International Airport. The board voted 4-1 to withdraw its application for participation in the Transportation Security Administrations screening partnership program, which allows commercial airports to use private-sector screeners. Sixteen of the nations 450 airports use contractors for such work.

Sacramento International Airport gets preliminary OK to use private security screeners
Source: Tony Bizjak, Sacramento Bee, July 27, 2012

Federal anti-terrorism officials announced this morning they have granted Sacramento International Airport preliminary permission to employ private screeners at security checkpoints in place of federal Transportation Security Administration employees. The move, if finalized, would make Sacramento the third-largest U.S. airport to switch to private contractors for security screening. San Francisco International, Kansas City and 14 smaller airports currently employ non-government employees at security checkpoints….

LA Zoo Privatization Plan Defeated!

Source: AFSCME Council 36, December 2012

In a major victory for City of LA employees and residents, City CAO Miguel Santana on December 18 announced that a proposal some city officials have long supported to privatize the Los Angeles Zoo is now officially scrapped. The end of the privatization effort means that the public will be able to continue to enjoy access to the zoo at relatively affordable prices (other Southland cities that have privatized their zoos, such as San Diego, charge higher admission prices) and the positions of about 200 zoo employees – from vets to clerical staff to maintenance workers – are now secure. Many of those employees are members of Council 36, and represented by Locals, 3090, 741, and 2006. …

L.A. Zoo privatization negotiations fall apart
Source: Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, September 28, 2012

Plan to Privatize L.A. Zoo Stopped
By Howard Fine, Los Angeles Business Journal, September 27, 2012

L.A. Council moves ahead with zoo privatization plan
Source: Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, August 12, 2011

The Los Angeles City Council has moved forward on a plan to possibly turn over management of the Los Angeles Zoo to a private company or nonprofit. In a 9-2 vote Friday, the council passed a measure that calls for the city to begin soliciting proposals from prospective operators. City officials will start reviewing responses this fall. If a contract is approved, the new operator could be in place by next summer. …

L.A. considers putting zoo operations in private hands
Source: Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, July 28, 2011

…… The city opened the zoo and botanical gardens in 1966, but officials are now considering a proposal to turn over management to a private operator. That means the gardeners, plumbers and other city employees who help run the zoo could be transferred to other departments and replaced with private workers.

S.C. county to privatize inmate health

Source: Triangle Business Journal, December 20, 2012

Late last year, North Carolina was looking at ways to privatize the delivery of health care for its 40,000 inmates to a single provider under a seven-year $1.5 billion pact. But that deal never materialized and early this year, the state shelved the idea of contracting out the medical and mental care of inmates. But a Charlotte-based company, Southern Health Partners, may have found a way to get business out of another governmental agency — specifically in Anderson County, S.C.

Public Sector Transformation, Racial Inequality and Downward Occupational Mobility

Source: George Wilson, Vincent J. Roscigno, Matt L. Huffman, Social Forces, First published online: December 9, 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
New “governance” reforms entailing shifts toward privatization have permeated the public sector over the last decade, possibly affecting workplace-based attainments. We examine the consequences of this reform for African American men, who during the civil rights era reached relative parity with whites. We analyze race-based inequities on one socioeconomic outcome-downward occupational mobility-among professionals, managers and executives. Results from a Panel Study of Income Dynamics sample indicate that the “new government business model,” characterized by increased employer discretion has disproportionately disadvantaged African Americans. Narrower racial gaps in the incidence, determinants and timing of downward mobility found in the public sector, relative to the private sector, during the pre-reform period (1985-90) eroded during the reform period (2002-07) because of widening racial gaps in the public sector.

Response 1: Big Society, the voluntary sector and the marketization of criminal justice

Source: Mike Maguire, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Vol. 12 no. 5, November 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The paper explores debates around the increasing role of the third sector in the delivery of mainstream criminal justice services, in the context of a broader ‘marketization’ of public services and a growing private sector presence. It is illustrated by brief discussions of the advent of police and crime commissioners, competitive commissioning of probation services, and the spread of payment by results. It is argued that, while superficially attractive, such developments are unproven in terms of effectiveness, raise questions about principles of justice, and contain risks for all parties concerned. It is therefore unwise to plunge much further down this route without careful piloting, evaluation and assessment of possible negative consequences.

State uses private flights to slash air travel costs

Source: Aaron Gould Sheinin,, December 18, 2012

State employees are flying less and Georgia taxpayers are expected to save more than $2 million a year as a result of a change in air-travel policy Gov. Nathan Deal made. Deal grounded state-owned airplanes and moved most official government air travel to charter-based services. The state moved in 2011 to begin selling its fixed-wing aircraft and contracted with three private charter companies, a change that is on track to lower state flight times by nearly 70 percent….[A]gencies still call the aviation authority to plan air travel but it contacts one of three charter companies to make it happen. The big change, however, is that agencies are now billed the full fare: an average of $1,700 per flight hour…..Three companies won bids to provide charter services: Epps Air Service Inc., FlightWorks Inc. and Inflight Medical Services International, although Gobeil said so far the state has only used Epps….

The state of Kansas had trouble keeping its inmates behind bars in 2012

Source: Ben Palosaari, Pitch, December 12, 2012

Eight Kansas prisoners escaped the custody of county jails, halfway houses and the Kansas Department of Corrections this year. Among the escapees were a convicted killer, a child molester and other violent criminals…. And in October, a child molester being transferred from Virginia to Colorado made a break on the University of Kansas campus, slipping away from Topeka’s Security Transport Services….

…Barclay points to inmate Gary L. Furthmyer’s walking away from the Lansing Correctional Facility the same day that four inmates fought their way out of the Ottawa County Detention Center. (The state had contracted with the county to house the inmates due to prison overcrowding)….Even if 2012 wasn’t full of anomalies, Barclay says the DOC is making changes. The state canceled its contract with the Ottawa County facility. And the department conducted inspections of two other county jails that the state contracts with to house offenders….

Dollars and Detainees – The Growth of For-Profit Detention

Source: Cody Mason, Sentencing Project, July 2012

The War on Drugs and harsh sentencing laws led to explosive growth in state and federal prison populations in the 1980s. The massive rise in prisoners overwhelmed government budgets and resources, and created opportunities for private prison companies to flourish. In 2010, one in every 13 prisoners in the U.S. was held by for-profit companies, despite evidence that private prisons often provide inadequate levels of service and are no more cost-effective than publicly-run facilities. In addition, private prisons operate on a business model that emphasizes profits over the public good, and benefit from policies that maintain America’s high incarceration rate.

County endures strained shift to privatized payroll system

Source: Patrick Malone, Coloradoan, December 15, 2012

… Growing pains have checkered Larimer County’s transition to a privatized payroll system that aimed to achieve savings in part by eliminating jobs locally and handing their duties to a contractor that increasingly relies on a workforce based in India. After lashing out at the quality of its services during a public hearing last month, county leaders say Automatic Data Processing Inc., or ADP, is improving. But some familiar with the crossover say the new system has demanded more staff time and attention, while the objective of the switch was to ease both of those pressures.

Long-time bus driver fired for bringing toy gun on to school bus

Source: Chris Papst, CBS 21 News, December 11, 2012

A bus driver in Dauphin County has been fired for bringing a toy gun onto the school bus and now he faces charges. One Lieutenant with Lower Paxton Police said it seemed like the bus driver was just fooling around with the students with the obvious toy gun, but it cost him his job….When asked about it, Jones pulled out the miniature Tommy Gun and told the student it was for the “bad kids”. As word spread on the bus, the 9th through 12th graders began calling school officials. A short time later, the bus was stopped and Jones was replaced with another driver. He was fired soon after by his employer, the Rohrer Bus Company.