Author Archives: Info Center

State Partners With For-Profit College

Source: Thomas Cole, Albuquerque Journal, September 19, 2012
(subscription required)

The administration of Gov. Susana Martinez is teaming with the for-profit – and politically connected – University of Phoenix to encourage state government employees to pursue higher education. State workers get a 10 percent tuition reduction under the deal, but the University of Phoenix would still be far more expensive than our 14 public universities and colleges. …. The political ties of the University of Phoenix to Martinez and Republican groups supporting her played no role in creation of the partnership with the school, he says……Annual tuition at the University of Phoenix is $11,340, more than double the cost of the state’s most expensive public schools, according to the website collegestats.org. …. The University of Phoenix has more than 35,000 student loans in default, making it No. 1 in the nation in that category for for-profit colleges…

Privatization may be part of Medstar future / Consultant hired to draw a blueprint; clerk will oversee investigation

Source: Thomas Himes, news-press.com, September 14, 2012

Lee County officials started spending money Friday to try to fix its Medstar fiasco…. County administration also wants to hire Global Aviation Solutions. The Miami-based company will help the county rehab the troubled program or bring in a private company to perform medical flights…. Bringing in an outside company to perform medical flights is one option that will be presented to the county commission in November, Hawes told commissioners Tuesday….

Overview of the Federal Procurement Process and Resources

Source: L. Elaine Halchin, Congressional Research Service (CRS), RS22536, September 11, 2012

In the basic federal procurement process, acquisition personnel, after determining their agency’s requirements (that is, the goods and services the agency needs), post a solicitation on the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) website. Interested companies prepare their offers in response to the solicitation, and, in accordance with applicable provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), agency personnel evaluate the offers. Another type of procurement opportunity for a company is to serve as a subcontractor for a government contractor. To be eligible to compete for government contracts, a company must obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and register with the federal government’s System for Award Management (SAM). Several agencies, such as the General Services Administration (GSA), provide assistance and services to existing and potential government contractors. Research and development (R&D) procurement opportunities may involve traditional contracting methods, such as solicitations and contracts, as well as nontraditional methods, which include agency-sponsored contests and venture capital funds.

Bid to privatize Ann Arbor schools noon-hour supervisors would save district $55K

Source: AnnArbor.com, September 18, 2012

Ann Arbor Public Schools could save about $55,000 per year by privatizing its noon-hour supervisors by awarding a contract for the jobs to Professional Contract Management, Inc. …The district has contracted with Professional Contract Management for the past several years for substitutes and coaches….

Related:
Ann Arbor lunchtime supervisors told to report for first day of school as outsourcing still planned
Source: Danielle Arndt, AnnArbor.com, September 4, 2012

About 400 lunchtime employees at Ann Arbor Public Schools were told to report for work as usual today for the first day of school, despite the district looking to outsource their positions.The AAPS Board of Education voted to privatize the district’s noon-hour supervisors and coordinators in June when it passed its $188.5 million budget for the 2012-13 academic year….District leaders estimated privatizing the noon-hour workers would save Ann Arbor $75,000. That savings would be generated from AAPS not having to pay in to the state’s retirement system for each of these workers, Margolis said. She added these workers won’t ever see their state pensions anyway, considering an employee must have worked for a district full-time for 10 years in order to access his or her retirement through the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System.

Ann Arbor’s approximately 400 noon-hour supervisors work anywhere from one to two hours per day, and many work only a few days per week, Margolis said…..

Audit: Maricopa County housing-agency woes continue

Source: Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Republic, September 14, 2012

An internal audit has found that the Housing Authority of Maricopa County still is struggling to handle its finances properly because of a lack of certain internal controls. The agency, which helps provide affordable housing to lower-income families, in 2010 came under fire from federal auditors for mismanagement. Following up on that federal audit, internal county auditors recently found inconsistent procedures in processing and approving certain financial transactions. That has led in some cases to the authority underreporting its financial liabilities and overstating revenue.

Ruling goes against Indianapolis airport’s effort to halt plans for nearby competing parking lot / Competitor could drain airport revenue

Source: Diana Penner, Indianapolis Star, September 10, 2012

A Marion County judge has ruled against the Indianapolis Airport Authority in its effort to stop private development of a competing parking lot. It was unclear how quickly the Cincinnati-based Chavez Properties and Parking could gear up to begin construction if the airport does not appeal. Company president Manuel Chavez could not be reached for comment Monday….

….”. . . When the (airport authority) sold the land associated with the appeal back in the 1990s, it was with the understanding that it would be used to foster the development of an Ameriplex industrial park that complements the Indianapolis International Airport with large warehouses and an office park,” the authority said in a written statement. “The (authority) believes that using the land to instead create a parking lot is not only contrary to the original development plan, but also counterproductive; the development of a parking lot will generate fewer jobs and real estate taxes for Decatur Township than other uses that are more consistent with the original plan for Ameriplex,” the statement reads.

Insourcing Outsourced Jobs

Source: Dave Carpenter, Hospitals and Health Networks (H&HN), September 2012
(subscription required)

Cost conscious hospitals look to reduce reliance on contract staff… Five out of six of those polled by the American Society for Healthcare Engineering and the Association for the Healthcare Environment say they expect the number of contracted staff in plant operations to fall. …. Contractor costs tend to be higher that staff costs, making it an obvious area to target.

Security firm G4S expects full Olympic Games payment

Source: BBC, September 11, 2012

The head of security firm G4S has said he expects the firm to be paid the full £235m contract for the Olympics despite the problems over staffing.

Related:
G4S fills its Olympic security quota
Source: Associated Press, August 8, 2012

Theresa May denies Olympic security is a ‘shambles’
Source: Alan Travis, The Guardian, July 12, 2012

The home secretary, Theresa May, has insisted the late decision to call up 3,500 troops to guard the Olympics was not a shambles and claimed that the need for the extra military personnel “only crystallised 24 hours ago”.

She repeatedly refused to spell out what penalties the private security firm G4S would face for failing to provide the necessary trained security guards to meet their 10,000 target, insisting that the £283m contract was with Locog, the Olympics organising committee, and not the Home Office. She added that the taxpayer would not face an extra bill for the decision.

Whistleblower’s Olympic Security Warning
Source: Sky News, July 12, 2012

A whistleblower involved in training staff for security firm G4S has told Sky News he believes there is a 50-50 chance someone could carry a bomb into one of the Olympic venues. He alleges that because of the pressure to recruit staff corners have been cut and some of the staff are not up to the job. The employee, whose identity Sky News is not revealing, said there is a “no fail” policy for security staff and all recruits passed the course regardless of how competent they were. Staff – who had received two days of intensive training operating X-ray machines to detect lethal weapons and explosives – failed to spot decommissioned hand-grenades and firearms during a test….

G4S shares hit by Olympics security problems
Source: BBC News, July 16, 2012

Games security ‘not compromised’

Source: BBC News, July 15, 2012

G4S profile: What is G4S?
Source: BBC News, July 12, 2012

G4S staff fail to get accredited
Source: BBC News, July 12, 2012

London Calls Out the Troops
Source: Donald Cohen, Huffington Post, July 13, 2012

Profiting from Public Dollars: How ALEC and Its Members Promote Privatization of Government Services and Assets

Source: In the Public Interest, September 2012

From the press release:
For years, corporations have joined the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) for the opportunity to develop legislation that diverts public dollars into their corporate coffers. A new report by In the Public Interest, “Profiting from Public Dollars: How ALEC and Its Members Promote Privatization of Government Services and Assets,” exposes ALEC’s extensive privatization agenda. The report details how private prison corporations, online education companies, health care corporations, and major industry players pay large membership fees to ALEC in exchange for valuable and unfettered access to state legislators. Corporations are able to work with ALEC lawmakers to craft bills that allow private control of public functions, and guarantee a steady stream of tax dollars to enhance profits.

Corporate and legislative ALEC members work together to jointly develop pro-privatization model bills, and then legislators introduce and push these bills in their state legislatures. These bills make it easier to create virtual public schools, encourage states to privatize vital health programs that help vulnerable populations, force state governments to sell public prisons to prison corporations, and help other industries take control of public assets and services.

In 2011 and 2012, ALEC model bills that sought to privatize core public functions were introduced in states across the country, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. Many ALEC bills fail their first time, but examples of success expose their real goal: enhancing corporate pocketbooks with lucrative government contracts.

PD says school bus brakes failed

Source: Lou Antonelli, Daily Tribune, September 7, 2012

The Mount Pleasant Police Department has releasing the findings related to the Durham School Services school bus accident that occurred at Ferguson St. and 16th St. on the morning of Wednesday, August 29…. The school bus rear-ended a loaded flatbed 18-wheeler tractor trailer at the intersection of 16th and Ferguson…. After investigating the accident scene, the school bus was taken to Priefert Logistics Truck Shop in Mount Pleasant. Preifert Logistics provided an independent inspection of the bus braking system. This inspection was done to validate the school bus driver’s statement that the brakes on the bus had failed. The independent report concluded the bus brakes did fail, due to brake mechanical problems…