Source: By JAMES GLANZ, New York Times, February 17, 2006
An executive for a company that was hired by Kellogg, Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary, to fly cargo into Iraq for the war effort has pleaded guilty to inflating invoices by $1.14 million to cover fraudulent “war risk surcharges,” a federal district court in Illinois announced Thursday. Charges against the executive, Christopher Joseph Cahill, 51, of Katy, Tex., had been sealed pending his plea agreement, said a spokeswoman for the court, in Rock Island, Ill., where the Army Field Support Command, which administers the Kellogg, Brown & Root contract, is situated. Mr. Cahill served as a regional vice president in Dubai for Eagle Global Logistics, a Houston-based company that won the contract from Kellogg, Brown & Root in 2002, court papers say.
Source: By Eric Kelderman, Stateline.org, Friday, February 17, 2006
After three years of stagnant transportation spending, states are embarking on a road-building binge but still struggling with how to pay for new pavement. One answer increasingly is pay-as-you-go for motorists. …..
To fill the gap, states more than ever are turning to toll roads, and in the latest twist, considering leasing those roadways to private companies in exchange for cash up-front to build more infrastructure. The latest example is Indiana, where lawmakers are debating a proposal from Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) to lease the 157-mile Indiana Toll Road to a consortium of foreign companies for $3.85 billion. Chicago, Texas and Virginia already have privately run toll ways. While governors from California to Virginia also are proposing more conventional ways to boost funding for roadwork – such as bonds and increased registration and license fees — transportation experts see privatization as a future source of highway funding.
Source: By Michele R. Marcucci, Mercury Register, 02/13/2006 03:10:42 AM
…… In December, Alameda County rolled out a new computer system to manage public assistance cases. County officials said the rollout has been a huge success, avoiding many of the pitfalls that have plagued other counties’ rollouts. But advocates and some people affected by the new system beg to differ……. But the new system — CalWIN — which, when fully implemented, will be used by 18 counties, does much of the work that county welfare workers had done by hand. It determines how much assistance a family is eligible for and sends out notices when someone is to be cut off, without a caseworker’s OK. The system, which cost $744 million (including at least $321 million for Electronic Data Systems Corp., which designed it) works well if it has all the information it needs, when it needs it. But if it’s missing information, or if paperwork is input late — due to either a client or worker error — it could cut off a family’s aid.
Source: By JONI JAMES, St. Petersburg Times (FL), February 14, 2006
TALLAHASSEE – A former Florida prison official has pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $225,000 in state money nearly three years after he used the cash to help buy houses for him and his girlfriend. Alan Brown Duffee, the former executive director of a defunct board that oversaw Florida’s private prison contracts, admitted Thursday in Tallahassee to one count each of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Duffee, 40, faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He is to be sentenced in April. …… A plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee shows Duffee admitted that he moved money in 2003 from a bank account for the Florida Correctional Privatization Commission to another bank account to which only he had access.
Source: By Joe Follick, The Ledger (FL), Wednesday, February 15, 2006
TALLAHASSEE — A controversial pharmaceutical company is losing its job of supplying prescription drugs to Department of Corrections inmates in South Florida. The company, Tallahassee-based TYA Pharmaceuticals, was chosen to dispense prescription drugs to inmates in DOC Region IV, which includes 18 counties. Prison Health Services, a Tennessee-based company that has received a DOC contract to supply health care needs for inmates in that region, selected TYA for the job. ….. The Florida Auditor General has criticized TYA’s contracts with the Department of Corrections for the splitting and repackaging of pills. The audits found myriad problems of lax oversight and accounting. After lawmakers criticized the two no-bid contracts the Department of Corrections gave to TYA, the agency is considering an end to the outsourcing of pill splitting and repackaging.
Source: BY CYNTHIA NEEDHAM, Providence Journal (RI), Wednesday, February 8, 2006
WOONSOCKET — Sodexho food services workers in the city’s schools have voted to unionize, officials for both sides say. In a 38-to-19 vote taken Jan. 27, the district’s cafeteria workers — employed by Sodexho — voted to unionize under the United Food & Commercial Workers, Local 328, an AFL-CIO affiliate. Following that vote, each of the parties was given one week to file an objection, according to Bob Redbord, a deputy regional attorney for the National Labor Relations Board in Boston. …… Nationwide, 12.5 percent of Sodexho employees are unionized, according to Gordon, who called that figure “average or a little bit above average for the food services industry.”
Source: BY DAN CHRISTENSEN, Miami Herald (FL), Wed, Feb. 08, 2006
A politically connected Coconut Creek company that provides inmate healthcare services at the Broward County Jail has won a multimillion-dollar, three-year no-bid contract to provide medical services to county prisoners in Palm Beach County. Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw hired Armor Correctional Health Services last month after quietly dumping St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services. Florida sheriffs are not required by law to use a competitive process to award contracts, but they often do when large contracts are involved.
Source: Palm Beach Post, Monday, January 30, 2006
Gas and even materials and labor may cost more, but Port St. Lucie City Council members were correct to reject a trash hauler’s bid to raise rates by up to 83 percent. Last week, the council nixed Waste Management’s bid to renew its contract for five years and asked other garbage haulers to submit bids for picking up trash, tree limbs and recyclables. Council members praised Waste Management’s work. But they said that the firm’s planned increase in monthly rates from $14.86 to $24.95 or $27.20, depending on how the fees are collected, is just too much for residents to pay. Mayor Bob Minsky was the only dissenter; he wanted to keep Waste Management, even though he once was its toughest critic. The firm’s improved service under a strict city contract, he said, and has helped keep the city clean.
Source: By Matt Scallan, Times-Picayne (LA), Tuesday, February 07, 2006
The St. Charles Parish Council on Monday told its garbage collector to pick up the trash or forget about picking up its final paycheck. However, Chief Administrative Officer Tim Vial said more research would have to be done to determine whether the parish could legally withhold the final payment to Waste Management Inc. …. “I’ve had some people complain that they haven’t had trash picked up in six weeks,” said Ganesier “Ram” Ramchandran, who cosponsored the payment resolution with Councilman Richard Duhe.
Source: DON WALKER, Journal Sentinel (WI), Feb. 7, 2006
Mindful of the fallout from the Adelman Travel contract, state Administration Secretary Stephen Bablitch has brought in former state auditor Dale Cattanach to oversee the selection process for a massive new information system the state wants to install. Bablitch brought Cattanach in as part of Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle’s directive to provide greater public assurance about the bid process, said Tom Solberg, a spokesman for the Department of Administration. “We want to make sure there is transparency to the process,” he said. “We want it to be fair.”