Category Archives: Licensing

Privatization of Building Code Enforcement: A Comparative Study of Regimes in Australia and Canada

Source: Jeroen Van der Heijden, International Journal of Law in the Built Environment, Vol. 2 no. 1, January 21, 2013

From the abstract:
This paper documents the effects of the privatisation of building code enforcement regimes. It notes that privatization is generally accompanied by trade-offs between competing democratic values such as effectiveness, efficiency, accountability and equity and explores the extent to which particular trade-offs might be related to aspects of the design of the regimes in which they occur.

As N.J. considers privatizing auto inspections, contract extended for state examiner

Source: Phil Gregory, News Works, May 7, 2013

The contract for Parsons Corporation to operate the state-run vehicle inspection stations in New Jersey has been extended for three years. As the contract extension begins, officials are studying whether to privatize the inspection system. New Jersey drivers now have the choice of going to a private garage to have a vehicle emissions inspection for $20 or having it done without charge at a state facility. … Martinez says more than 80 percent of inspections in New Jersey are done at the state facilities, but the nationwide trend is toward privatization.

AFSCME members picket for local jobs

Source: Beau Ebenezer, WEEK-TV, March 13, 2013

Local code enforcement and building inspectors may be out of a job in the coming months if city officials decide to subcontract the positions. Dozens of members from of AFSCME Local 3464 picketed outside of Peoria City Hall Tuesday evening. The rally comes after City Council began to look at subcontracting code enforcement and building inspection….

Florida backs off license tag fight

Source: Brittany Alana Davis, Tampa Bay Times, December 8, 2012

Backing away from a possible court fight, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles announced Friday that it will halt its attempt to bid license tag services to private vendors.

Tax collectors — who distribute state tags — and two manufacturing groups tried to block the change by lobbying elected officials and filing legal action against the department.

Highway Safety Chief Julie Jones had wanted to save money by paying private companies $31.4 million over two years to make tags and distribute mail and online orders, but she abandoned the idea under pressure from Attorney General Pam Bondi and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, among others….

Florida Local Stops Privatization Scheme

Source: Joe Lawrence, AFSCME blog, March 27, 2012

An attempt to privatize a city agency, which monitors building safety in hurricane-prone Florida, failed last week due to an aggressive campaign by members of AFSCME Local 2009 and a history of good relations with the public they serve.

The Hallandale Beach Building Services Department is small, but members understood privatizing it would have a domino effect on other operations, said Local 2009 Pres. Paulemond Mompremier. Just two years ago, the same local beat back an attempt to privatize sanitation.

The city commission put the service out to bid at the behest of commercial interests who demanded more control over the department. But the privateers came up short because Local 2009 had the community at their side during the commission meeting in which bids were considered. The city inspectors have a history of rigorously enforcing building codes, but they’re also known for going out of their way to help residents and businesses meet the code – and the public appreciated it.

Atlanta puts building code enforcement under police department

Source: Larry Conley, American City and County, February 1, 2012

The move is part of the city’s effort to get tough on violators and tear down eyesores.

Atlanta is toughening its building codes enforcement – with the emphasis on enforcement. In February, the city put the civilian codes enforcement department under police direction, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The city is trying to crack down on thousands of abandoned or dilapidated properties, a longstanding problem made worse by the foreclosure crisis. Police say the eyesores feed crime, so that appropriately puts it in their court.

Reports: City of Redding privatization unnecessary; consultants say outsourcing could be costly

Source: Scott Mobley, Record Searchlight, October 29, 2011

Privatization would not save Redding much money and could wind up costing more in the long run, a trio of private consultants said….

….Officials this spring hired the consultants to analyze whether private firms could operate the city’s water and sewer treatment plants, manage its information technology and run its planning and building departments for less. Redding paid $85,800 total for the three studies….

…The council and a group of appointed residents in 2009 considered privatizing several general fund departments, including police and fire, which together take up 63 percent of the budget. The committee concluded there were few cost-saving opportunities from privatizing public safety or contracting those services to the county or state….

52 lose jobs in Urich’s budget plan / Garbage fee to rise 133 percent in Peoria city manager’s proposed $182.7 million budget for 2012

Source: John Sharp, Journal Star, October 14, 2011

…The cuts also are expected to bring structural changes to City Hall next year. Urich said he wants to propose merging the economic development, planning and growth management and inspections departments into one consolidated community development department. He also said information technology could be merged with Peoria County and that building inspections could be outsourced to the private sector…

Letter to the editor: Privatizing DMV functions is wrong

Source: Vishnu Subramaniam, Las Vegas Sun, October 3, 2011

The wait times for driving exams at DMV offices around the state are getting longer. To address the issue, the DMV director has proposed allowing private driver examiners to conduct these exams. I agree wholeheartedly that we must reduce wait times for citizens. However, the plan to hand over this duty to a private company will compromise the privacy and safety of Nevadans — and likely at a higher cost.

PA Governor Gives Energy Executive Supreme Authority Over Environmental Permitting

Source: Abrahm Lustgarten, Nicholas Kusnetz and Joaquin Sapien, ProPublica, March 9, 2011

Pennsylvania has come under fire lately as pollution from drilling in the Marcellus Shale threatens water resources across the state. But instead of ratcheting up oversight, Gov. Tom Corbett wants to hand authority over some of the state’s most critical environmental decisions to C. Alan Walker, a Pennsylvania energy executive with his own track record of running up against the state’s environmental regulations.

Walker, who has contributed $184,000 to Corbett’s campaign efforts since 2004, is CEO and owner of Bradford Energy Company and Bradford Coal, which was once among Pennsylvania’s largest coal mining companies. He also owns or has an interest in 12 other companies, including a trucking business and a central Pennsylvania oil and gas company.

Walker was Corbett’s first appointee–he chose him to lead the Department of Community and Economic Development in December, before taking office. Now, as Corbett stakes much of the state’s economy on Marcellus Shale gas drilling, a paragraph tucked into the 1,184-page budget gives Walker unprecedented authority to “expedite any permit or action pending in any agency where the creation of jobs may be impacted.” That includes, presumably, coal, oil, gas and trucking.