Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal – 11:14 AM PST Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006
Sodexho Management Inc. has agreed to pay $61,000 to a custodian it employed at Agnew Development Center in San Jose who complained of sexual harassment by a male nurse, federal officials said Tuesday. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Gaithersburg, Md.-based Sodexho denied wrongdoing in the case but agreed to settle after voluntary mediation efforts. …. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Sodexho failed to investigate or stop the harassment, and they also retaliated against Sanchez for reporting it. The retaliation included tasking Ms. Sanchez with more difficult work, reducing her workload, and issuing disciplinary write-ups.
Source: GWEN FLORIO, Great Falls Tribune (MT), Jan 11, 2006
The weekend fight at the Crossroads Correctional in Shelby that injured two correctional guards comes after repeated complaints that the state’s only for-profit private prison is too crowded. Still, both the Legislature during its regular session last year, and the Corrections Advisory Council more recently, rejected plans to expand the prison. …… The incident is being investigated by three different offices — the state Corrections Department, the Toole County Sheriff and the private Corrections Corp. of America, which runs the prison. None is releasing names of the five officers or about a half-dozen inmates involved in the incident, which lasted a scant six minutes.
Source: By Marcia Moore, The Daily Item (PA), January 11, 2006
MIDDLEBURG — The Snyder County commissioners are closely following Beaver County’s attempt at privatizing its county jail. The commissioners contacted their counterparts in Beaver County after learning of their plan to save an estimated $1.6 million a year by hiring a private management firm to operate their prison. ….. The Snyder County Jail, which can house about 175 inmates and employs 32 full-time corrections officers and 18 part-time officers, has cost the county more than $2 million a year to operate. In the past two years, the prison board has taken steps to reduce expenses, including a recent move to no longer house federal inmates and reduce the inmate population to between 90 and 100. Beaver County officials said they anticipate saving $5 million over three years by having CiviGenics, of Massachusetts, operate their jail, which holds 400 inmates and has 70 full-time and part-time corrections officers. The union representing the jail employees [ed. note: SEIU] has been trying to negotiate an alternative way to lower costs.
Source: Mark Hollis, Sun Sentinel (FL), January 10, 2006
Health care for inmates in all South Florida state prisons is being turned over this month to a national firm that promises to save the state millions of dollars a year. Gov. Jeb Bush’s administration is touting the boon to taxpayers that comes with putting Nashville-based Prison Health Services in charge of caring for more than 14,000 inmates in 13 prisons in southern Florida, including those in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. Some legislators are wary, in part because Prison Health’s bid for the work was tens of millions of dollars lower than its nearest rival bidders. They worry the company will take shortcuts that could bring unnecessary health risks to the prisons, and hidden costs like inmate lawsuits.
Source: Michele McNeil, Indianapolis Star (IN), January 10, 2006
Legislators unveiled a proposal Monday that they say would improve salary conditions for state employees and pensions for those who have lost their jobs because of government cuts or privatization. Senate Bill 340, which will be heard in a Senate committee within the next few weeks, would allow employees to be vested in their pensions — regardless of years worked — when they are laid off because of outsourcing or an office closure. Now, employees get pension benefits only after working for the state for 10 years. …. Unions representing state employees say legislators aren’t doing much to help those state workers who have lost their jobs since Gov. Mitch Daniels took office. His administration has, for example, outsourced prison food service and shut the Fort Wayne State Developmental Center. “I don’t see how this bill protects the wages of state employees,” said Lettie Oliver, associate director, American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, Council 62.
Source: By LYNN HORSLEY, The Kansas City Star (MO), Jan. 05, 2006
Kansas City’s experiment with private management of Kemper Arena and the American Royal complex appears to be working. In 2005, paid attendance was up 75 percent, the number of events increased 74 percent, and several events scored record attendance. Perhaps more importantly, the floors and rest rooms are clean, and concessions are greatly improved. City Council members, who admitted they were skeptical when Philadelphia-based Global Spectrum took over management of the publicly owned complex in fall 2003, said Wednesday that they were pleased with the results.
Source: Associated Press (IN), January 5, 2006
NEW CASTLE, Ind. — A Florida-based company has taken over operations at an eastern Indiana state prison and plans to quickly begin adding inmates to the facility. About 20 new inmates are expected to arrive at the prison each day this week, said Craig Hanks, superintendent of the prison for GEO Group Inc. ….. GEO Group contracted with the Indiana Department of Correction to assume management of the prison for an initial term of four years with three two-year extensions.
Source: LARRY LEBOWITZ AND SCOTT HIAASEN, Miami Herald (FL), Sun, Jan. 08, 2006
At Miami-Dade’s Metrorail stations, armed security guards say they are often asked to work seven days a week or up to 20 hours straight. And still, several current and former employees say, The Wackenhut Corp. can’t cover enough shifts, forcing supervisors and roving patrols to fill the gaps and sometimes leaving ”ghost posts” that stay empty for hours. The allegations, brought to light in whistle-blower lawsuits filed by former Wackenhut guards, raise questions about the company’s ability to live up to its five-year, $89 million no-bid contract with Miami-Dade Transit. That agreement caps each guard’s workday at 13.5 hours and requires that no post be left unguarded. Miami-Dade County’s auditor is now investigating whether Wackenhut has overbilled the county — an accusation the company denies. The auditor has seized scores of payroll records and company log books detailing guard activity along the county’s transit lines.
Source: April M. Washington, Rocky Mountain News (CO), December 30, 2005
Colorado has promised not to bad-mouth a company that started but did not finish building a $40.8 million computer system for the state Department of Labor, according to a settlement announced last week. Colorado also will “express appreciation” for the company’s work, according to the Dec. 20 document. Accenture and the Department of Labor formally terminated their contract last week over claims by the state that the global technology services company was far behind schedule and that the system it was developing was fraught with bugs.
Source: Susan Snyder, Philadelphia Inquirer (PA), Fri, Dec. 30, 2005
The Philadelphia School District has hired a private company to take over the cleaning responsibilities in 22 of its largest high schools – a move that has angered the custodial workers’ union. Paul Vallas, district chief executive, said poor attendance and low productivity had spurred the decision this month to take the work away from Local 1201 of the Service Employees International Union.