Moran raises question of privatizing the GPO

Source: By Jackie Kucinich, The Hill, March 14, 2006

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), who has pushed for privatization of government entities in the past, asked at the hearing last week whether it could acheive more cost savings at the Government Printing Office (GPO) . Bruce James, the public printer, testified that he had thought about such a move when he was confirmed in 2002 to head the then-foundering agency. “Most European governments have privatized their government printing,” James said. But he changed his mind as he realized the critical role the GPO plays in archiving and preserving congressional documents. Such work is better done by a government office than a private contractor, James said.

Youth center's future is uncertain

Source: By MELANIE MARKLEY, Houston Chronicle (TX), March 13, 2006, 10:46PM

A new Harris County youth center being dedicated today, which includes an emergency shelter and a medical clinic, already faces an uncertain future because of the state’s impending privatization of foster care. County leaders fear the privatization law could soon jeopardize some of the programs now offered with local and grant funding for Harris County children in the state’s foster care system. Officials say they are asking the Texas Attorney General’s Office if they will be able to compete with for-profit and nonprofit companies should Houston be selected later this month as the first of 11 regions to turn foster care over to the private sector. The entire state will be privatized by 2011.

A jail ordeal, a family's tragedy

Source: By Tina Moore, Philadelphia Inquirer (PA), Tue, Mar. 14, 2006

….. Six inmates have died from unnatural causes since 2001 at Delaware County’s George W. Hill Correctional Center in Thornton. Operated by the GEO Group, it is the only privately run adult jail in the state. In addition to Atkinson’s death, two prisoners committed suicide, another was killed by a fellow inmate, and the fourth died of an overdose of heroin smuggled into the jail. A fifth died in 2005 of head and neck injuries after repeatedly throwing himself against his cell door, county officials said.

The A-76 dilemma

Source: By Roseanne Gerin, Washington Technology, 03/13/06; Vol. 21 No. 05

When Lockheed Martin Corp. won a $1.9 billion competitive sourcing contract with the Federal Aviation Administration just over a year ago, the company was ecstatic. Here was a chance at a 10-year contract, taking over a 2,000-plus person operation and consolidating from 58 to 20 the FAA’s flight stations that help with planning and sharing of information on weather and air space status across the country. The contract also is the largest award under the government’s A-76 process, in which the government competes its own workers against the private sector. But Lockheed Martin’s elation soon wore off as the National Association of Air Traffic Specialists, the union representing more than 2,000 FAA employees, and its allies in Congress stepped up opposition to the outsourcing deal. ….. Most Efficient Organizations, government teams set up to compete against industry, known as MEOs, win 91 percent of A-76 competitions, according to OMB’s most recent report, which covers fiscal 2004. Data for 2005 is due for release soon, OMB spokesman Alex Conant said.

Wisconsin last state standing with Accenture

Source: By Judith Davidoff, Capital Times (WI), March 10, 2006

Wisconsin is the last state standing. On Thursday, Wyoming became the third of four states to pull out of its contract with Accenture LLC for the development of a statewide voter registration system using the firm’s new Web-based software. Kansas and Colorado severed their ties with the technology and consulting giant last year due to problems with the project. ….. Hansen said she is preparing a letter to send to Accenture that seeks additional assurance the company is committed to completing the terms of its contract, which runs through June 2010. There is some concern, she said, that Accenture might find it unprofitable to continue now that it won’t be drawing revenue from the project from other states.

Wyo won’t make voter registration deadline

Source: By BRODIE FARQUHAR, Casper Star-Tribune (WY), March 10, 2006

CHEYENNE n Wyoming’s new voter registration system ground to a halt Thursday, after Secretary of State Joe Meyer and the company working on the system reached a tentative agreement to stop work on it. In a press conference, Meyer said there was no possible way the system, called WyoReg, could be ready for the 2006 general election. Meyer said he and the company, Accenture, reached a tentative agreement to “unwind” the contract and that most of the $3.9 million contract will return to the state. ….. Collins said she was uncomfortable with the fact that the Accenture system would have been hosted by the company, via the Internet, and that Wyoming data and votes would no longer have resided in individual counties or even Cheyenne, but at an undisclosed site back east.

Better Review Urged For Medicare Complaints

Source: By Gilbert M. Gaul, Washington Post, Friday, March 10, 2006

Private contractors hired by Medicare to improve quality and investigate complaints have failed to promote patients’ rights, and face conflicts of interest that may lead them to favor doctors and hospitals over beneficiaries, a federal advisory group reported yesterday. The Institute of Medicine, which is the government’s key consultant on health care policy, concluded that while Quality Improvement Organizations play an important role in health care, responsibility for investigating patient complaints should be removed from them and shifted to other organizations.

IRS selects 3 private firms to help with tax collections

Source: USA Today, March 10, 2006

The Internal Revenue Service said Thursday that three companies have been chosen to help collect unpaid tax debts. The companies, among 33 applicants, will help the IRS collect from taxpayers who agree they owe taxes but haven’t paid. …… Critics, such as National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley, have voiced concern about taxpayer privacy. Everson said the IRS plans to write the training curriculum for private companies and monitor the quality of their work. Government auditors have also been tracking the program. The companies are the CBE Group, in Waterloo, Iowa; Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson LLP in Austin; and Pioneer Credit Recovery in Arcade, N.Y.

For-profit firm bids to run Hoosier worker training

Source: BY KEITH BENMAN, Northwest Indiana Times (IN), Friday, March 10, 2006 1:03 AM CST

Northwest Indiana could see national for-profit firms bidding to run WorkOne employment offices and worker training programs under Gov. Mitch Daniels’ drive to reorganize work force training in Indiana. Arbor Education & Training LLC has put in a bid to provide those services in the Evansville region and is expected to bid on some of the state’s nine other work force regions, according to Chuck Roche, director of the Shawnee Trace Workforce Investment Board, based in Vincennes. …. Daniels has said the primary goal of the reforms is to better align work force development with economic development. But it now appears the move could lead to the privatization of work force services. Daniels also has moved aggressively to privatize corrections services, many social services and the Indiana Toll Road.

Guards: It’s the Dept. of Homeland Insecurity

Source: By Chip Reid, NBC News, Updated: 7:29 p.m. ET March 9, 2006

WASHINGTON – In a residential area of Washington, D.C., the headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security is fenced, gated and patrolled by armed guards. The guards are employed by Wackenhut Services, a British company that provides security for many sensitive American sites, including many of the nation’s nuclear power plants. But the Homeland Security headquarters is anything but secure, according to more than a dozen former and current Wackenhut employees who signed statements citing everything from unmanned guard stations to inadequate training. …. The Department of Homeland Security says it “maintains several security measures both seen and unseen” and notes that after the white powder incident, guards were given additional training and more training will soon be required under a new security contract.