Author Archives: Info Center

Profiting from Public Dollars: How ALEC and its members promote privatization of government services and assets

Source: In The Public Interest, Backgrounder Brief, July 23, 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.”

San Bernardino bankruptcy reignites debate over outsourcing city police and fire services

Source: Joe Nelson, Daily Bulletin, July 23, 2012

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. …

Police consolidation bid a harbinger

Source: Jason Method, Asbury Park Press, July 23, 2012

….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…..

Hiring and Screening Practices of Agencies Supplying Paid Caregivers to Older Adults

Source: Lee A. Lindquist, Kenzie A. Cameron, Joanne Messerges-Bernstein, Elisha Friesema, Lisa Zickuhr, David W. Baker and Michael Wolf, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Volume 60, Issue 7, July 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Objectives: To assess what screening practices agencies use in hiring caregivers and how caregiver competency is measured before assigning responsibilities in caring for older adults….Participants: Four hundred sixty-two home care agencies were contacted, of which 84 were no longer in service, 165 offered only nursing care, and 33 were excluded; 180 agencies completed interviews…. Results: To recruit caregivers, agencies primarily used print and Internet (e.g., Craigslist.com) advertising and word-of-mouth referrals. In hiring, agencies required prior “life experiences” (68.8%) few of which (27.2%) were specific to caregiving. Screening measures included federal criminal background checks (55.8%) and drug testing (31.8%). Agencies stated that the paid caregiver could perform skills, such as medication reminding (96.0%). Skill competency was assessed according to caregiver self-report (58.5%), testing (35.2%), and client feedback (35.2%). General caregiver training length ranged from 0 to 7 days. Supervision ranged from none to weekly and included home visits, telephone calls, and caregivers visiting the central office.

Conclusion: Using an agency to hire paid caregivers may give older adults and their families a false sense of security regarding the background and skill set of the caregiver.
See also:
Dangerous Caregivers for Elderly / Agencies place unqualified, possibly criminal caregivers in homes of vulnerable seniors Source: Marla Paul, Northwestern University, News Center, July 10, 2012 |

The Value for Money Analysis: A Guide for More Effective PSC and PPP Evaluation

Source: Dawn Bidne, Amber Kirby, Lucombo J. Luvela, Benjamin Shattuck, Sean Standley, and Stephen Welker, National Council on Public-Private Partnerships, May 2012

Fiscal constraints, declining infrastructure and increased industry specialization have led to greater interest in the government use of Public-Private Partnerships. Through these arrangements, public projects can often be designed, implemented, administered and salvaged at lower cost and risk to the public than that associated with traditional government provision. A robust and properly conducted Value for Money (VfM) analysis ensures that the selected project delivery mechanism provides greatest return on the investment of taxpayer dollars.

This document was prepared at the request of the National Council on Public-Private Partnerships to provide a guide for conducting an effective VfM analysis. The authors were graduate students at American University’s School of Public Affairs, and the guide was prepared as part of their graduate program in Public Policy. Therefore, nothing in this document should be construed as representing the official position or policies of the NCPPP; all perspectives and any opinions should be attributed solely to the authors unless otherwise cited.
See also:
Presentation

Grand Rapids schools remain concerned pension overhaul will penalize them for privatizing

Source: Monica Scott, mlive.com, July 18, 2012

As the Senate today debates substantial pension reform, Grand Rapids schools is concerned about a switch from funding the system based on a percentage of payroll to the cost of operating expenses, which officials say penalizes districts that privatized to cut costs.

Audit Finds Preschool Billed State Improperly

Source: David M. Halbfinger, New York Times, July 18, 2012

The owners of a fast-growing Queens company that teaches toddlers with disabilities took nearly $1.5 million from a public preschool program, paying themselves inflated salaries and rent, and billing the government for their cars, children’s furniture and even cosmetics, a state audit has found. The company’s owners, who were once married, also violated tax regulations, gave the wife’s sister a no-show job and wrongly billed the state for utility expenses incurred by a private day care business they operate on the side, investigators said….State records show that billings by the company, Bilingual SEIT and Preschool, based in Flushing, exploded over the last decade, to more than $15 million in the 2010-11 school year, from $808,935 in 2002-3. Most of its revenue comes from employing “special education itinerant teachers,” or SEITs, who work one-on-one with children in their homes or in nursery schools.

Employees sue over Marion prison lease

Source: Michelle Rotuno-Johnson, Marion Star, July 18, 2012

Related:
Union sues Ohio over privately run prisons
Source: Associated Press, July 12, 2012

Union sues state over private prisons / Suit says actions last year hurt 270 workers
Source: Alan Johnson, Columbus Dispatch, July 12, 2012

Union files lawsuit against private prison contractors
Source: OCSEA, News, July 11, 2012

DeWine’s override of career attorneys threatens reputation of Attorney General’s Office
Source: Plunderbund, June 4, 2012

A recent opinion from Mike DeWine on a technical legal issue could have huge long-term ramifications on the reputation and integrity of the Ohio attorney General’s Office. Records recently obtained by Plunderbund show that DeWine rejected the opinion of career government attorneys in order to assist Governor Kasich’s effort to privatize state prisons, sending a clear message that politics is more important to him than the rule of law….Clearly, the Kasich Administration – and this includes senior officials at Public safety and the leadership of the Patrol – did not like the conclusion from the Opinions Section that the Patrol could not conduct criminal investigations at private prisons because it complicated the political objective of privatizing the prisons. So they went up the chain to try to find an attorney who would tell them what they wanted to hear. Apparently, they found a sympathetic ear in DeWine, who would essentially over-rule the Opinions Section to help Kasich pursue this political objective. The evidence here strongly suggests that the tail wagged the dog – DeWine’s conclusion was pre-determined by political or ideological agenda.

Press release
Ohio prepares to privatize some state prisons
Source: Julie Carr Smyth, Associated Press, December 29, 2011
Prison union official to tour merged Grafton facility
Source: Cindy Leise, Chronicle-Telegram, January 5th, 2012
Prison privatization risks higher costs for Ohio
Source: Bob Paynter, Policy Matters Ohio, December 15, 2011

From the summary:
This study reviews Ohio’s September 2011 moves to further privatize some of its prisons and finds that they could be a drain on public funds. The state announced it would sell one of its prisons, privatize the management of two others, and combine under state control the operations of two more.

Understanding and Improving Full-Time Virtual Schools: A Study of Student Characteristics, School Finance, and School Performance in Schools Operated by K12 Inc

Source: Gary Miron, Jessica Urschel, National Education Policy Center, July 2012

From the press release:
K12 Inc. enrolls more public school students than any other private education management organization in the U.S. Much has been written about K12 Inc. (referred to in this report simply as “K12”) by financial analysts and investigative journalists because it is a large, publicly traded company and is the dominant player in the operation and expansion of full-time virtual schools. This report provides a new perspective on the nation’s largest virtual school provider through a systematic review and analysis of student characteristics, school finance, and school performance of K12-operated schools. Using federal and state data, this report provides a description of the students served by K12 and the public revenues received and spent by the company at the school level. Further, the report presents evidence from a range of school performance measures and strives to understand and explain the overall weak performance of these virtual schools.

While the authors share the excitement of new technologies and the potential these have to improve communication, teacher effectiveness, and learning, they recommend that policymakers move forward cautiously and only after piloting and thoroughly vetting new ideas. The authors express hope that their findings will help inform policymakers and motivate researchers to carefully study various aspects of full-time virtual schools. They conclude that a better understanding of virtual schools can serve to improve this new model and help ensure that full-time virtual schools can better serve students and the public as a whole.