Category Archives: Consolidated.Services

Old Lyme police union raises concerns over potential East Lyme merger

Source: Kimberly Drelich, The Day, December 8, 2017
 
The Old Lyme Police Department’s union is raising concerns over a potential consolidation with the East Lyme Police Department and said police officers should be part of the conversation over the town’s policing needs. “The Old Lyme Police AFSCME Local 2693 are in 100 percent agreement that the consolidation is not in the best interest of the townspeople and the police officers,” said police Cpl. Bill Zipadelli, president of local 2693, which comprises the department’s six full-time police officers. “We plan to share our concerns with the first selectman and the Board of Selectmen. It’s important for the voice of police officers to be heard and involved in any discussions regarding our future.” East Lyme and Old Lyme officials announced last summer the beginning of preliminary discussions on a proposal to create one police department for the two towns. East Lyme established an independent police force on July 1, while Old Lyme is under the state police program with a resident state trooper, six full-time officers and one part-time officer. … Larry Dorman, public affairs officer for Council 4 AFSCME, said the union doesn’t believe it’s in Old Lyme’s best interest to lose the current model of a small but dedicated police force that protects and serves the town. “There are statutory concerns, collective bargaining concerns and public safety concerns for the townspeople in Old Lyme,” Dorman said. “It just makes sense that these dedicated police officers are part of any due diligence regarding outsourcing.” … The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen is planning on forming a committee to study the town’s police services and whether or not a potential consolidation makes sense. …

Ige applauds work in progress at rental car hub

Source: Brian Perry, Maui News, October 6, 2017
 
The governor also expressed support for a Senate bill — now pending before state lawmakers — that would create the Hawaii Airport Corp. as an entity to consolidate the ownership, control and management of the state’s airport system. It would take that responsibility from the state’s Transportation Department, although that department would be administratively attached to the corporation. Senate Bill 658 advanced to a conference committee this year, but lawmakers were unable to achieve final passage of the measure supported by the Department of Transportation. Next year, legislators may pick up where they left off .Referring to the Kahului rental car facility’s construction, Ige said Transportation Department Director Ford Fuchigami and his team “have done a terrific job in moving the project forward, but we are pursuing the airport authority because we believe even with the work that has been done we can do better.” … Funds for construction of the consolidated rental car facility come from a pool of money generated by customers who pay $4.50 a day to rent vehicles in Hawaii. Funds for the airport corporation would come from fees paid by airlines and other airport vendors.Hawaii Government Employees Association Executive Director Randy Perreira submitted testimony opposed to the bill. …  “The bill advances the notion that such a corporation addresses delayed decision-making and inefficiency resulting from multiple agencies involved in the planning, development and operation of Hawaii’s airport infrastructure,” Perreira said. “We assert that multiple agencies, each with their own area of responsibility, are rightly involved to collectively protect the public interest.”

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Effort to establish airports corporation advances
Source: Ivy Ashe, Hawaii Tribune Herald, March 24, 2017

Another attempt to consolidate management and planning for Hawaii’s airports is making its way through the state House of Representatives.  The measure was first brought to the Senate last year by the late Hawaii Island Sen. Gilbert Kahele. That legislation died during conferencing.  This year’s bill, Senate Bill 658, was introduced by Sen. Lorraine Inouye, D-Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona, and would establish a Hawaii airport corporation comprised of a governor-appointed board of directors. … The measure has been opposed by labor groups such as the Hawaii Government Employees Association. In written testimony during Senate hearings, executive director Randy Perreira stated having multiple agencies involved in airport management was a way to “collectively protect the public interest.”  “The public benefits from the involvement of the Department of Health with respect to addressing environmental concerns, the Board of Land and Natural Resources with respect to protecting public lands and the Department of Human Resources Development with respect to enforcing the civil service law to render impartial service to the public,” he wrote. …

JSU Police canceling Calhoun County 911 dispatch service management

Source: Patrick McCreless, The Anniston Star, May 5, 2017

Jacksonville State University police are set to return to in-house dispatch services in July, less than a year after outsourcing those duties in the expectation of improved efficiency. JSU officials now say contracting out the emergency and non-emergency medical calls hasn’t made the dispatch service more efficient. The JSU police will instead use a combination of professional dispatchers and student workers to handle all emergency and non-emergency calls moving forward. JSU police Chief Shawn Giddy sent a letter to Calhoun County 911 Monday stating his department no longer wanted the organization to manage its dispatch services. …

Burlington, Essex, others consider regionalizing dispatch

Source: Elizabeth Murray, Burlington Free Press, March 30, 2017

Chittenden County towns are exploring whether they can combine local dispatch offices into one regionalized dispatch center, which officials believe could increase the efficiency of providing emergency services. … However, many questions still remain, including whether this will cost or save towns and cities money and whether all dispatchers employed now will keep their jobs. … Colchester dispatcher Earl Benway, who has held his position for 16 years, says he’s in favor of the idea, but thinks the plan needs to be more specific. Benway serves as the vice president for the local union that includes dispatchers and other employees in the Burlington area, in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1343. Benway said there are concerns over whether employees will have to reapply for their jobs, what the pay scales may be and how a union may fit in. … Benway said one negative of consolidation will be losing the local, familiar relationships with police officers and the public that the dispatchers serve. … Representatives from Milton, Colchester and Shelburne say they’re interested by the idea that has been presented to them and are willing to work through many of the questions that remain. … Baker said the committee is pushing to get recommendations to the elected bodies in each town by this fall. Those elected bodies will then determine whether the plan can be brought to its residents on Town Meeting Day. …

Labor agreements impede shared services, cities say

Source: Rob Ryser, News Times, March 23, 2017
 
… The inability of willing neighbors to share services when it makes sense for both sides is part of what keeps local governments from finding more efficiencies, Boughton said, and one reason he was in the state capital this week. Boughton spoke in favor of legislation that would waive certain restrictions in municipal labor contracts when towns and cities make agreements to share services. … The bill, which was extracted from a larger report containing recommendations by the statewide Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, was the subject of public hearings this week in the state legislature’s Planning and Development Committee. … In Danbury, Boughton and the City Council have been exploring partnerships with neighboring Putnam County – a six-town region of 100,000 people across the border in New York, and with Waterbury, the state’s fifth-largest city. Neither partnership needs the legislation pending in Hartford to proceed. The agreement with Putnam County involves a potential deal to provide city sewer service to a Brewster-area commercial zone, and the potential to capitalize on mutual economic interests such as infrastructure projects, recreation initiatives and cultural events. The proposed partnership with Waterbury aims to build an economic development zone along the Interstate 84 corridor, anchored by the two cities. …

Steal Another City’s Study

Source: Rachel Dovey, Next City, March 13, 2017

With more than 90,000 governments — think state, county, city — making up the U.S. government, it makes no sense that so many of them operate as silos. A new project wants to address this where issues of operational efficiency are concerned. The Operational Excellence in Government project, from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center, “identifies operational efficiency themes across state and local governments” by pulling from over 200 state and local reports on efficiency — and allowing officials to see them side-by-side, or search them by topic. According to the project’s website, it aims to pinpoint cost saving opportunities, recommend proven efficiencies and provide implementation guidance. In short, it’s a kind of meta-report — about a bunch of reports. On the front end, though, it also provides a searchable database, where officials can use keywords to see research that’s been done on any given topic, or search umbrella topics. Click on “Operations,” for example, and you’ll see related research about federal procurement and contractor team formation. …

Read full report.

(Ed. note: The Operations topic includes subtopics such as privatization, shared services, and public-private partnerships.)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to downsize local government comes under fire

Source: Kyle Hughes, Daily Freeman, March 7, 2017
 
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to link state aid money to downsizing local government came under sharp criticism Tuesday during a press conference as a “top-down” dictate that doesn’t reflect the fiscal realities facing municipalities. … He and others said the biggest problem is the costs of pensions, employee healthcare and other mandates handed down by the state and shouldered by local taxpayers.  CSEA Capital Region President Ron Briggs called Cuomo’s plan a “dangerous scheme” that “undermines local government leadership and erodes vital services taxpayers rely on. It also sets up local governments for failure.”  He also said any consolidation or shared services planning should include rank-and-file employees who will be affected by any change. … They spoke at a press conference with state Sen. Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon, who is opposing Cuomo’s plan to tie $715 million in funding for municipalities for creation of a government consolidation plan. Under the plan, county governments would draw up merger plans to downsize local governments and put the recommendations up for a vote. … The proposal is part of Cuomo’s $162 billion budget plan for 2017-18 which is on track to be adopted by the end of March. Legislators are expected to make changes in the plan before its final adoption, possibly including a revision of the consolidation proposal. …

Proposed bill could merge colleges and universities

Source: Natalie Pate, Statesman Journal, February 18, 2017

… Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, wants a stronger connection between community colleges and universities to improve student performance. Senate Bill 8 would allow community colleges and public universities to merge into one institution. … Courtney said the bill would provide more options for students at a lower cost. … Should the bill pass, community colleges and public universities interested in merging would submit a proposal to Higher Education Coordinating Commission for approval. If the commission approves the merger, the commission would submit a report on the merger to the Legislature. The institutions submitting a proposal for the merger would have to explain how the combined institution would address things such as financial and legal procedures, the transfer of employees, combining a budget, and what academic programs would be offered. … Similar mergers have happened across the country, such as the merger between Georgia State University, one of the state’s four research institutions, and Georgia Perimeter College, a two-year institution. However, Cannon said, to his knowledge, this would be unprecedented in Oregon. …

AFSCME President, Over 20 Lawmakers Begin State Supreme Court Case Against Branstad

Source: Ben Oldach, WHOtv, September 14, 2016

A State Supreme Court hearing on Wednesday could impact which state-funded programs get funded at budget time. The case pits AFSCME President Danny Homan and over 20 lawmakers against Governor Branstad. It comes from a veto issued by Gov. Branstad last July which effectively shut down two state-run mental hospitals. The heart of the prosecution’s argument came from a statute in Iowa’s code identifying four mental health hospitals; one in Mount Pleasant, Independence, Clarinda and Cherokee. …

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High court asked to overturn Branstad’s closures of mental health institutes
Source: William Petroski, Des Moines Register, September 14, 2016

The Iowa Supreme Court was asked Wednesday to decide if Gov. Terry Branstad violated state law last year by using his line-item veto authority to close two state mental health institutes. … The dispute dates to July 2015, when the Republican governor vetoed a bipartisan compromise plan that would have reversed his closure of the mental institution at Mount Pleasant and would have temporarily kept open a similar facility at Clarinda. Twenty-five state legislators and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees sued Branstad. They contended his veto of more than $6 million in spending broke a law requiring the state to operate four mental hospitals, including the two that he closed. They have asked the high court to overturn a Polk County District Court ruling last November by Polk County District Judge Douglas Staskal, who sided with Branstad. The Supreme Court did not issue a ruling Wednesday and the justices didn’t say when the case will be decided.

Judge dismisses lawsuit over closing of Mt. Pleasant and Clarinda MHI’s
Source: Pat Curtis, Radio Iowa, November 4, 2015

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Governor Terry Branstad by the state’s largest public employees union and 20 legislative Democrats. The lawsuit was filed after Branstad vetoed funding approved by the legislature that would have kept two of the state’s Mental Health Institutes open. … Danny Homan, president of AFSCME Council 61, said the action the governor took to close the two MHIs was illegal. But, a Polk County judge has ruled Branstad had the authority to veto financial support for such facilities and backed a request by state attorneys to throw out the lawsuit. The attorney representing AFSCME and the lawmakers plans to appeal the decision to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Branstad’s mental-hospital closures debated in court
Source: Tony Leys, The Des Moines Register, October 8, 2015

Lawyers for Gov. Terry Branstad and his critics argued in court Thursday over whether he broke the law by using his line item veto authority to effectively shutter two state mental hospitals. … Branstad’s lawyers earlier asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the legislators and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees lacked grounds to sue. The judge disagreed, ruling last month that the lawsuit could proceed. However, he dismissed Department of Human Services Director Charles Palmer as a defendant, saying Palmer had no say in Branstad’s veto. There will be no trial, because the two sides agree on the facts of the case. Staskal said Thursday that he would rule on the legal questions within 30 days. Whoever loses the case then could appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Editorial: Is Branstad behaving like an autocrat?
Source: The Des Moines Register, September 27, 2015

Gov. Terry Branstad has established a pattern of governing that ignores the existence of 150 state lawmakers. When legislators complain, lawsuits allege an abuse of power, or Iowans die after being moved from a state home he closed, the governor is already focused on his next agenda item. … Though Iowa law specifies the state shall operate mental health institutes in Mount Pleasant and Clarinda, the governor unilaterally shut down those facilities, too. At least three former residents have died while a lawsuit against Branstad makes its way through the courts. Now he is seeking to privatize Iowa’s $4 billion Medicaid program by handing over its operations to managed care companies. Without evidence this would improve the health of Iowans or details about how exactly it would save money, his administration has moved forward to transform the government health insurance program for 560,000 Iowans. It sought bids from companies and sent out a press release announcing the “winners.”

Judge: Branstad can be sued for mental-hospital closure
Source: Tony Leys, The Des Moines Register, September 21, 2015

Democratic legislators and the leader of the state workers’ union have the right to sue Gov. Terry Branstad over his closure of two state mental hospitals, a judge has ruled. … The Iowa attorney general’s office, representing the governor, countered the lawsuit by contending the union leader and the legislators could not show he exceeded his authority by vetoing money that would have kept them running. The state lawyers also contended the plaintiffs didn’t have grounds to sue because they couldn’t show they were directly harmed by the hospital closures. Judge Douglas Staskal disagreed with the governor. In a ruling filed last week, the Polk County district judge ruled that Homan and the legislators have “standing” to file the lawsuit. In other words, they showed that Branstad’s action harmed them specifically. The judge wrote that Homan had the right to sue because several dozen of his union’s members worked at the hospitals.

Judge denies motion to dismiss lawsuit over Branstad closing mental health facilities
Source: Bleeding Heartland, September 17, 2015

Polk County District Court Judge Douglas Staskal ruled yesterday that a lawsuit challenging Governor Terry Branstad’s line-item vetoes of mental health facility funding can move forward. … But in a thirteen-page ruling, Judge Staskal rejected the state’s arguments that “the plaintiffs lack standing, have failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted and that the case presents a nonjusticiable political question.” He found that AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan has standing because he represents the interests of state workers who were laid off when the state government closed in-patient mental health facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant. The judge also noted that state legislators “have standing to challenge the propriety of the Governor’s exercise of his veto authority.” Judge Staskal found plaintiffs had stated a claim: “a challenge to the Governor’s exercise of his line-item veto authority.” As for the political question, the ruling noted, “Whether to close Clarinda and Mount Pleasant is a policy matter for the other branches of government. Whether the Governor’s particular use of his line-item veto power is constitutional is a matter for the courts.”

Jails Struggling with Mental Health Placement Following MHI Closure
Source: Rob Sussman, KBUR, August 19, 2015

The transition coordinator for Des Moines and Lee County Jails says that the closure of the Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute is already putting a strain on the area’s correctional system. … In Des Moines and Lee Counties, they’ve changed the process for booking inmates in the jail to better screen for mental illness. … Kramer says that the closure of the Mount Pleasant MHI has created excess strain on the correctional system, making it more difficult to assist inmates with their mental health needs. “We’ve seen a lot of struggles with placement. Some people who would have formerly been able to get in a placement situation can’t because those beds are being taken up by former MHI patients,” Kramer explained. The MHI was closed last month after Governor Branstad opted not to approve funding for either the MHI in Mount Pleasant or the one in Clarinda.

Iowa Lawmaker Tours Cherokee Mental Health Facility
Source: Rachael Kraus, SiouxlandMatters.com, August 17, 2015

… Since then, three patients have died after being moved from the Clarinda facility over to private care, adding attention to the issue. The Governor’s decision to close facilities was met with praise and harsh criticism, even a lawsuit.  Iowa union members and some lawmakers filed a lawsuit over what they call the Governor’s ‘overreach’ of the law. … He says the facility isn’t the problem, it’s that it can house just 36 people and now it’s one of two facilities in the state after Gov. Branstad’s veto of funding for the facilities in Mount Pleasant and Clarinda. Cherokee’s facility could be expanded to house at least 12 more patients, but that would require state approval.  The last time lawmakers put forward a bill that would fund mental health programs, it was vetoed. … Within weeks of closing down Clarinda, three patients died after being transferred to a new facility. Hogg says lawmakers can’t keep letting the system fail the patients.  He says there needs to be a hard conversation about the mental health system in the state, and see changes made. But that starts, he says, with making sure facilities that are already helping Iowans stay open.
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Emergency dispatch consolidation plan advances

Source: Leon Lagerstam, QC Online, July 27, 2016

A decision to consolidate emergency dispatch centers into what’s called Public Safety Answering Points was approved Tuesday by a statewide 911 administrator. Administrator Cindy Barbera-Brelle emailed Rock Island County Emergency Telephone System Board chairman Steve Seiver that the county’s proposal has been accepted. … Agencies were required to submit a consolidation plan by the end of June and now have until June 30, 2017, to finish developing specific operational guidelines. Rock Island County was tasked with cutting its centers to three. Emergency telephone system board members decided to keep Rock Island and Rock Island County’s centers open, but close a Centre Station center handling Moline and East Moline calls, as well as Milan and Silvis. Moline, East Moline, and Milan decided to create a new dispatch center to be housed in Milan. Silvis has started negotiations with Rock Island’s department. …

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RI County begins plans to merge police dispatch centers
Source: Leon Lagerstam, Dispatch Argus, July 10, 2016

A plan to consolidate local police dispatch centers was filed a day before its state-mandated deadline. The plan for what is officially known as Public Safety Answering Points — PSAPs– was needed by June 30. It was filed June 29, Rock Island County Emergency Telephone System Board chairman Steve Seiver said. … On June 29, 2015, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law that required reducing the six Rock Island County emergency dispatching centers to three by June 30, 2017. … Milan, Moline and East Moline will consolidate and be housed at Milan. Where Silvis will go will be determined later by the newly consolidated PSAPs, according to information in the “Application for 9-1-1 Consolidation or Modified Plan.” Silvis city administrator Jim Grafton said city leaders were disappointed they didn’t get to see a copy of the proposed application before a city council meeting could have been convened. An emailed copy of it arrived in Silvis June 28. Revisions were suggested, but a council meeting couldn’t be called in time to approve it. … Dispatch centers employ about 54 full-time employees represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, as well as part-time employees and supervisors, according to reports. Staffing and budgetary requirements will be addressed this year ahead of an implementation stage. Ignoring or postponing a PSAP consolidation decision would have jeopardized future 9-1-1 surcharge funding, according to materials.