Tag Archives: Georgia

Stockbridge to draft contract with private police firm

Source: Asia Ashley, Henry Herald, April 12, 2016

Stockbridge city officials have given the OK to the city manager to proceed with drafting a contract with a private police services company. During Monday’s City Council meeting, City Manager Michael Harris said the city’s public safety committee interviewed six to seven private security firms to provide protection within the city limits. Advanced Protective Services was recommended as the firm to pursue. Candidates to provide the services were narrowed down based on “experience and approach,” according to Harris. … The decision to privatize police services came after the city decided not to renew the service delivery strategy for the services with Henry County. The city had paid the county $500,000 annually for two Henry County Police Department officers to be in the city limits all hours of the day. The county has maintained that the city has been underpaying for the service, particularly due to the high call volume in Stockbridge. Late last year county officials proposed an agreement that would require Stockbridge to pay the county $743,000, a figure still below the actual cost to provide the additional county services within the city, according to Police Chief Keith Nichols. The payment would have increased 4 percent per year beginning Jan. 1, 2017. … Harris said the officers will likely be armed and be allowed to detain suspects, but will not have arrest powers. The company will mostly be doing code enforcement, typically working evenings and weekends. They will be responsible for having their own liability and insurance coverage, and the city will not be liable for any incidents, said Harris. Preliminary discussions with the council indicate that there will likely be two private officers per shift, which may increase or decrease during certain times of year, Harris said. He said costs will “certainly” be less than the cost of paying the county.

Privatizing EMS ‘off the table’ in Lee County

Source: Tracey Smith, WFXL, March 22, 2016

Lee County commissioners are urging residents not to believe everything they hear. For months, Lee County commissioners have been trying to figure out a way to make the county’s emergency services more efficient. … While privatizing EMS was an idea brought up by the board in the past, board chairman Rick Muggridge said that idea is off the table. Muggridge said he wants to stress to the community that while Lee County has good public safety services, there is always room for improvement. …

Related:

Lee County proposes EMS privatization
Source: WALB, October 13, 2015

The chairman of the Lee County Commission says privatizing the county’s Emergency Medical Services would save tax money and might improve services. Commissioners discussed the controversial proposal tonight. Chairman Rick Muggridge says EMS costs the county $2.4-million a year. … Muggridge says most current employees likely would keep their jobs under a private operator.

Atlanta TSA could soon be nixxed

Source: Charles Bailey, Georgia State Signal, March 21, 2016

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is in danger of losing its contract with Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (HJIA), according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Words like “privatization” are being thrown around now because passenger wait times at security checkpoints are too long — lines at 6 a.m. were found to take nearly an hour to cross. On Feb. 12, Hartsfield Jackson General Manager Miguel Southwell gave the agency 60 days to improve or the airport will bring in its own private contractors to man the checkpoints, according to WSB. Undercover Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents tested TSA screeners 70 times, posing as passengers in order to “smuggle” weapons and explosives through airports nationwide in 2015. The agency failed 67 times to find the contraband items, or 95 percent of the trials, according to ABC News. … In Southwell’s letter, sent to The Signal by Director of Communications Reese McCranie, he said the airport is “giving serious consideration to TSA’s Screening Partnership Program (SPP),” which allows qualified private contractors to screen passengers and their luggage, and “is conducting exhaustive research and weighing pros and cons” of privatization. Southwell said private contractors might be able to use a greater share of part-time workers than TSA does to handle the fluctuation of passenger volumes through security checkpoints. TSA pledges to resolve the wait time issues by the summer. The agency will use more overtime to boost staffing, speed up training of new screeners, and deploy more dog teams that help human workers work faster, according to the AJC.

Kasich: Sandy Springs a model for ‘Uber-izing’ government

Source: John Ruch, Reporter Newspapers, February 23, 2016

At its founding a decade ago, Sandy Springs made national headlines for using private contractors to run most city departments and services. Kasich repeatedly likened the city to the driver-hiring app Uber, which has up-ended the traditional taxi industry, and questioned Mayor Rusty Paul and Councilman Tibby DeJulio about how it works. “What I like about what they’re doing here is, they’ve really Uber-ized the government,” Kasich said. “Government at every level, Tibby, has to be Uber-ized.”

Related:

Sandy Springs puts public services in private hands
Source: By DOUG NURSE, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution(GA), 09/27/06

…….. Many cities have hired private firms to handle some services, but Sandy Springs has gone much further. And the idea appears to be catching on. …… CH2M Hill is in possession of all city records and, on occasion, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has had difficulty getting access to public information. That means residents could, too. ….. The lack of transparency also could create opportunities for corruption, such as an elected official hinting he’d like his brother-in-law hired as a subcontractor, said Kerry Korpi of the Association of State, County and Municipal Employees. There’s no way to tell how much profit the company is making and no way to tell how much more efficiency can be wrung from the company, she said.

Online legal publishers squabble over the right to copyright the law

Source: David Kravets, Arstechnica, February 11, 2016

The lawsuit (PDF) comes as states across the nation partner with legal research companies to offer exclusive publishing and licensing deals for digitizing and making available online the states’ reams of laws and regulations. The only problem is that the law is not copyrightable—or so says one of the publishers involved in the Georgia litigation. In this instance, District of Columbia-based legal publisher Fastcase wants a judge to fend off a cease-and-desist demand from rival Virginia-based Lawriter, which has been designated as the exclusive publisher (PDF) of Georgia’s compilation (PDF) of the rules and regulations of its state agencies.

The For-Profit Probation Maze: A for-profit “offender-funded probation” payment system unfairly penalizes, and often traps, the poor

Source: J. Weston Phippen, National Journal, December 16, 2015

In the Mis­sis­sippi Delta town of Green­wood, a for-profit com­pany prom­ised city lead­ers it could take over its cash-strapped pro­ba­tion sys­tem without any ex­pense to tax­pay­ers. Not only that, but the com­pany said it could ac­tu­ally turn a profit for it­self, and the city, by col­lect­ing fines. Just eight months later, nearly 10 per­cent of the town’s 15,000 pop­u­la­tion was on pro­ba­tion for minor of­fenses like traffic vi­ol­a­tions and ow­ing fees to the com­pany. By the time city lead­ers real­ized the dam­age, the com­pany had en­titled it­self to profits of at least $48,000 a month, all paid for, as one county of­fi­cial said, “off the backs of the poor people.” …..

The For-Profit Probation Maze

MARTA privatizes paratransit, despite public outcry

Source: Atlanta Progressive News, November 15, 2015

Despite public outcry, MARTA Mobility, the paratransit service for Atlantans with disabilities, will soon be run by a private company instead of the local transit authority.   On November 05, 2015, the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) unanimously to approve a three-year, 64.9 million dollar contract to MV Transportation Inc. to take over paratransit services in Atlanta. … It is true that MARTA Mobility is riddled with problems.  For example, the agency is already subject to court monitoring for failing to meet standards set by the Americans With Disabilities Act.   Passengers are often left waiting for indefinite periods of time for their van service to arrive, with little or no recourse.  One passenger told APN that calling MARTA to check on the van’s status “only makes it worse.”   But David Ates, a lawyer representing MARTA’s disabled clients and one of its judge-appointed monitors, says outsourcing to MV is unlikely to fix that. … MARTA’s paratransit workers will not only face lower wages, they stand to lose pensions, healthcare, and for some, their jobs.   The same day of the Board vote, Parker announced the credit rating agency Moody’s had upgraded MARTA’s bond rating.

County Paramedics Breathe Sigh of Relief as Privatization Plan Fizzles

Source: Larry Hobbs, Emergency Management, November 11, 2015

Glynn County Finance Committee members were all business Tuesday at the Harold Pate Building in dismissing a plan to privatize the county’s emergency medical services as a cost-saving measure. … In the end, Ours determined that any potential cost savings the measure might attain would be offset by the drop in the level of both fire and EMS service to the county. … One private EMS company estimated the county could save up to $800,000 annually by privatizing the county service. It would also be the private EMS contractor’s responsibility to collect for unpaid ambulance rides and other EMS medical fees, of which the county is now owed an estimated $1.5 million. The matter of privatizing EMS will still go before the county commission for discussion at the Nov. 19 meeting. But it will go there without the support of either the finance committee or the county manager.

Related:

Ga. Firefighters Don’t Want EMS Privatized
Source: Larry Hobbs, Firehouse, November 10, 2015

The finance committee could still vote to recommend the county send out bids to private EMS companies for a cost comparison. A final decision would rest with the county commission, which instructed Ours in May to research and determine whether it would be cost effective to privatize the county’s EMS service. But Ours has concluded that any potential savings would not be worth the shortcomings to the county in service provided. … Because all of Glynn’s emergency medical personnel also are firefighters, each fire station responds to a fire call with fire truck and an ambulance, two people in each. That puts four firefighters on the scene, the minimum number of firefighters needed to engage a structure fire as recommended by the National Fire Protection Administration. Having a private EMS firm would eliminate the dual service available from each station, thus requiring two firefighters from another truck at another station to arrive in support, Ours said.

Shattered dreams: Immigrants in lock up

Source: The Stream, Aljazeera America, October 27, 2015

Every year, 400,000 undocumented foreigners are locked in US facilities that can feel more like prison than a processing centre. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) monitors them, but a new report slams the government agency for obscuring and perpetuating “widespread abuses of detained immigrants”. Is the US whitewashing or cleaning up immigration detention? … The report accuses ICE of being complicit in hiding human rights abuses and unexplained deaths at detention facilities. It says that despite documented violations of federal standards, ICE has given passing inspections to immigration detention centres in order to keep government funds flowing to them.

Lives in Peril: How Ineffective Inspections Make ICE Complicit in Detention Center Abuse
Source: National Immigrant Justice Center, October 2015

This report by the National Immigration Justice Center (NIJC) and Detention Watch Network (DWN), exposes how the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) inspections process for immigration detention centers obscures and perpetuates widespread abuses of detained immigrants. Lives in Peril: How Ineffective Inspections Make ICE Complicit in Detention Center Abuse draws on information from ICE inspections documents for 105 immigration detention facilities and features focused analyses of inspections for detention centers in Arizona, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Georgia and Illinois. NIJC obtained the inspections through a federal court order resulting from three years of litigation under the Freedom of Information Act. NIJC and DWN’s review of the documents reveals fundamental inconsistencies within and between inspection reports for individual detention centers which suggests that the immigration detention inspection process is a sham – designed to perpetuate a broken and abusive system. For this second of a series of reports, NIJC released hundreds of inspection reports and the deposition of the chief of ICE’s Detention Monitoring Unit, who provided insight into ICE’s inspections system.

Read full report.

Law Enforcement Investigations and Actions Regarding For-Profit Colleges

Source: David Halperin, Republic Report, Updated October 9, 2015

This is a list of pending and recent significant federal and state law enforcement investigations of, and actions against, for-profit colleges. It also includes some major investigations and disciplinary actions by the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Defense.  It does not include investigations or disciplinary actions by state education oversight boards.  It also does not include lawsuits prosecuted only by private parties — students, staff, etc. To date, 37 state attorneys general are participating in a joint working group examining for-profit colleges, according to the office of Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway. Many of those are actively investigating specific for-profit colleges in their states.