Tag Archives: Georgia

Training for Free

Source: Caroline Cournoyer, Governing, December 2011

The time and money it takes to find, hire and train a new employee who may not last beyond the training period makes many private-sector businesses hesitant to even start the process — especially during tough economic times. But what if employers didn’t have to pay to train prospective employees? That’s the premise of a program in the Peach State called Georgia Works.

It breaks down like this: People who receive unemployment checks from the state train with an employer that’s looking to hire for no more than two months. The state pays the trainee a small travel and child-care stipend, and covers his or her workers’ compensation. Jobless residents walk away with a training certificate and possibly a job, while businesses get to test out workers before making permanent payroll commitments.

Augusta Commission to consider parking deals

Source: Susan McCord, Augusta Chronicle, October 29, 2011

The Augusta Commission impasse surrounding management of two city-owned parking facilities might be over, if the deal offered by Augusta Riverfront LLC resembles what was generated by the open market when the job was put out for bid earlier this year….

….Commissioners have raised multiple questions about the terms of two contracts presented by Jim Plunkett, the city’s special counsel, on many aspects of the $50 million development being paid for with sales, hotel and rental car taxes.

Bowles said he was satisfied with explanations he had found for why Augusta Riverfront LLC, which runs the existing adjacent Marriott convention center, is to operate the deck, and why the city owns only the deck and its air rights, not the dirt beneath with the exception of 0.07 acre….

…The 15-year lease has Augusta Riverfront LLC paying the city $50,000 for exclusive use of what’s left of city-owned Marriott parking after construction.

The lease is as good a deal as the city has with Republic Parking, which it pays $25,000 annually to operate the nearly twice as many spaces the city had before construction began, City Administrator Fred Russell said….

DOT says it is not withholding road construction money

Source: Kristina Torres, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 13, 2011

The Georgia Department of Transportation said Tuesday it has spent nearly $1 billion last budget year on road projects and related costs, rejecting a contention that the agency has been stifling job creation in Georgia’s beleaguered construction industry. Some of Georgia’s most powerful contractors have claimed hundreds, if not thousands, of on-the-ground jobs have been lost because the department has not spent money more urgently during the recession on paving and road projects. The allegation surfaced last week when the DOT’s governing board booted former Commissioner Vance Smith from the top job.
See also:
DOT commissioner resigns
Source: Ariel Hart, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 7, 2011

Augusta’s Procurement Department could be privatized

Source: Susan McCord, Augusta Chronicle, September 8, 2011

Augusta’s embattled Procurement Department might be next for possible outsourcing….The department has attracted multiple legal challenges over the years, often from losing bidders….Procurement Director Geri Sams and City Administrator Fred Russell both testified in a court hearing on the case that the best quality doesn’t always come at the lowest price.

28 Communities Sign or Extend Contracts with American Traffic Solutions in 2nd Quarter for Road Safety Camera Programs

Source: American Traffic Solutions, Press Release, July 8th, 2011

American Traffic Solutions continued to set the pace for the road safety camera industry with a robust second quarter that saw 28 communities sign contracts/notices to proceed for 274 Red-Light and Speed-Compliance Safety Cameras, a sharp increase from the 29 contracts/notices to proceed and 170 cameras sold in the first quarter. This steady growth can be attributed to Road Safety Camera Program’s proven record of reducing red-light-running violations and related crashes.

A breakdown of the numbers for the second quarter reveals that ATS signed contracts with 10 new communities to deliver 166 new cameras, executed 17 agreements to expand the number of cameras in contracted communities by 102 and won an additional six-camera contract with Clayton County, Ga., whose agreement with ATS expired and was re-bid. This year, ATS has executed agreements with local governments to install, maintain and operate 444 new and expansion Red-Light and Speed Compliance Safety Cameras. ATS has also extended or renewed 14 contracts this year.

St. Petersburg, Fla., represents the largest new contract executed during the second quarter of this year with the installation of 50 new Red-Light Safety Cameras, followed by Tampa, Fla., with 40. In New Jersey, where a multi-year pilot program for Red-Light Safety Cameras is in progress, three townships signed new agreements. Charles County, Maryland, also executed an expansion agreement to add 15 new cameras….

Airport Privatization Could Take Off

Source: Benita M. Dodd, Gwinnett Gazette, August 5, 2011

For years, Georgia has been trying to site an airport to supplement Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the busiest passenger airport in the world. Suggestions have been all over the map, from Dawsonville to Macon to Chattanooga. Now a plan to make a Gwinnett County airport a regional relief valve – by privatizing it – finally holds promise.
See also:
Fly Gwinnett Forward Urges Officials To Move On Privatization of Briscoe Field
Source: Patch.com, ‎August 5, 2011‎
Gwinnett Airport RFP Opens Door for Scheduled Passenger Service / County says proposals must be submitted by Feb. 8, 2012
Source: Steve Burns, Patch.com, December 8, 2011

Yours, mine and ours — under threat

Source: Jay Walljasper, Star Tribune, July 30, 2011

…In many places around the world, private firms are gaining control of public water systems. But when rewarding shareholders prevails over serving the public as the chief aim of a utility, the price of water goes up and the quality of service goes down.

According to Maude Barlow, a former advisor to the United Nations secretary general on water issues, a growing list of cities — from those in Argentina and Australia to New Orleans, Atlanta and Stockton, Calif. — have ended experiments in water privatization after experiencing disastrous results. In June, Italians voted decisively to overturn Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s plan to privatize public water supplies….

Ga begins private maintenance project for I-95

Source: Associated Press, July 1, 2011

The Georgia Department of Transportation is launching a 3-year private road maintenance contract for Interstate 95 along the coast. The $6.8 million contract with Maryland-based Roy Jorgensen Associates Inc. begins Friday. … The arrangement could save the state money and free up state employees for other work.

Students sat in for worker rights across nation

Source: Berger-Marks Foundation, June 1, 2011

Solidarity with Sodexo food service workers
At the University of Washington in Seattle, 27 students were hauled out in handcuffs from the President’s office on May 12. Their crime? They had sat down, in an effort to get the president to meet with them. They wanted the university to “take a stand for worker rights” by ending its $3.4 million contract with the union-busting Sodexo company to operate concessions at the athletics stadium.

Undaunted by the arrests, the next week U of W students took over the Athletic Director’s office, where 13 of them again got arrested defending worker rights.

Meanwhile, students at Western Washington University celebrated victory after eight months of protests over the same issue. That university agreed to end the $150 million deal that allowed Sodexo to operate its dining facilities. Students had acted after a worker who was fired by Sodexo in the Dominican Republic visited the WWU campus to speak against Sodexo’s global human rights abuses….Actions in Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio…

…More student actions against sweatshops

At the University of Texas in Austin, students stepped up an eleven-year campaign for worker rights by sitting in at the president’s office until he agreed to meet with them. They call on the university to affiliate with the Workers Right’s Consortium (WRC), an independent labor rights monitoring group affiliated with 180 colleges and universities.

Cornell’s Students Against Sweatshops held a “study-in” their President’s office to demand that the University break off from the corporate-run Fair Labor Association (FLA) and support the WRC instead.

Students at Rutgers University in New Jersey and the College of William & Mary in Virginia also held peaceful sit-ins for better treatment of campus custodians and other university workers. Several were handcuffed and arrested.

And University of Maryland student activists occupied their President’s office over union-buster Daycon, whose workers have been on strike for a year. The Student Government Association had unanimously called on the President to immediately terminate the University’s contract with Daycon….

State’s water needs get a boost

Source: Larry Gold, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 31, 2011

As part of our state’s continuing efforts to solve our multifaceted water problems, including dwindling supplies of fresh water and legal threats to our state’s water supply, Gov. Nathan Deal signed a new law in May creating opportunities for public-private partnerships in Georgia to deal with these major challenges….

…The new law — the 2011 Water Reservoir Act — provides opportunities to meet these challenges. The most important issue is how government entities obtain the financing to fund these projects, each of which can cost up to hundreds of millions of dollars, without relying on local taxes.

This law now gives local and county officials the right to contract with private companies to develop, construct, finance, maintain and operate new or revamped water reservoirs and other water projects across the state.

Contracts can last for up to 50 years and will permit governmental entities, including the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, to participate with private businesses in these projects.