To Market, to Market: Legislating on Privatization and Subcontracting

Source: Ellen Dannin, Maryland Law Review, Vol. 60 no. 2, 2001

From the abstract:
So enervated is our opinion of public service today, it is a shock to conceive of building this sort of edifice for mere government workers – bean counters and paymasters at that. … We need to ask: when markets are not competitive, can the private sector improve on public sector performance even as it falls short of the competitive ideal? Although it is possible to attempt to create a market by dividing a public service into smaller units, doing so may lead to greater inefficiency, lack of coordination, duplication, and, as a result, greater expense. … Massachusetts is not at the opposite end of Arizona; it does not forbid subcontracting. … Arizona’s privatization legislation mandates that the Office for Excellence in Government develop a model to estimate the total costs for providing a state function and develop a method for comparing those costs to private sector costs. … Arizona, for example, charges its Office of Management and Budget with designing standardized methodology for how the state identifies and evaluates state functions to subcontract and with determining if future competitive contracting with the private sector and other government agencies is in the best interest of the state. … They content that public workers have an unfair advantage because they are familiar with the work and because agencies, as governmental entities, are not required to pay taxes. …

Collecting delinquent child support a deadbeat effort in El Paso County

Source: Bob Campbell, Colorado Springs Independent, June 29, 2000

…According to local ACES head Denise Stinson, Colorado is one of the lowest-rated states in terms of enforcing federal child support laws and guidelines. El Paso County, meanwhile, is the lowest-rated county in Colorado. …. Numerous statistics and publications bear her out. With more than 20,000 open child support cases involving 39,000 children, the county is ranked last or next-to-last in four of 10 performance-measurement categories published by the State Office of Child Support Enforcement. …Until 1996, El Paso County contracted with the District Attorney’s office to enforce child support services. According to DA Jeanne Smith, the county opted to privatize the service in 1996 because caseloads were proliferating faster than the DA office could manage. In response, the Board of County Commissioners solicited contract bids for child support services and selected Maximus, a Virginia-based company that provides the service to eight states and employs 4,000 people in 130 offices nationwide. ACES claims that child support services have deteriorated in El Paso County ever since. The organization notes that last year’s state auditor’s report faulted Maximus in the areas of understaffing, poor management, large numbers of errors and substandard enforcement. Taxpayers, Stinson insists, are paying more for less under Maximus. ….