Tag Archives: Georgia

OSHA complaints show awful conditions inside private prisons … for the employees / Fire, lead, and vermin are just some of the everyday hazards

Source: Beryl Lipton, MuckRock, January 15, 2014

MuckRock’s September request for complaints made to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) against Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) has so far yielded only four complete responses from OSHA’s ten regional offices. None of them mention interpersonal inmate issues but nonetheless they offer glimpses into what goes on within prison walls…..The largest fine for this group of offenses rang in at $3,675 in Ohio, but as CCA noted in its RFP for another Ohio institution, it makes enough money to cover those, no problem….

Advisory council orders GBI investigation of Darien-based South Georgia Probation

Source: Terry Dickson, Jacksonville.com, December 17, 2014

The state council overseeing private probation companies voted unanimously Wednesday to launch a criminal investigation against a Darien-based firm, South Georgia Probation Inc., the day after the company’s owner, Shea Smith, informed three courts she was quitting. … Neither Smith nor her lawyer appeared before the council, which is an arm of the Judicial Council of Georgia, to answer findings on noncompliance in its supervision of defendants on probation. The council noted it is likely to hear other such cases against private probation companies from around the state in light of a recent State Supreme Court decision that says the companies cannot extend the probation of misdemeanor defendants over nonpayment of supervision fees. After that ruling, which resulted from a battery of suits against Sentinel Probation in the Augusta area, thousands of arrest warrants were rescinded around the state. Many had been secured by large firms that provide probation services in multiple counties.

In South Georgia Probation’s case, an October compliance review showed that Smith, who is a registered probation officer, had given administrative employees authority to make decisions on probations, that probation officers didn’t meet education standards, had unregistered employees and didn’t have procedures for indigent defendants. Among other deficiencies the company let probationers buy out of community service, collected dismissal fees on active warrants, collected fees for drug tests that weren’t completed and collected its fees upfront rather than monthly as courts ordered, the review said….

Troubled Waters: Misleading industry PR and the case for public water

Source: Emanuele Lobina, Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) and Corporate Accountability International, November 2014

From the blog post:
By now, you’ve probably heard: our public water systems are under threat. As federal funding for public water infrastructure dries up, global water corporations like Suez and Veolia are rushing to offer themselves as “solutions” to fill the void. But their false promises gloss over the dismal track record of private water corporations: rate hikes, environmental degradation, labor abuses, and political interference.

But the report we just released with Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) — “Troubled Waters: Misleading industry PR and the case for public water”– finds that U.S. cities are increasingly rejecting water privatization and taking back public control of their public water. The report draws from interviews with dozens of public officials, data about water remunicipalizations from more than 100 cities globally, and Freedom of Information Act Requests. Its author, Emanuele Lobina, is a Principal Lecturer in the University of Greenwich, UK, Business School and a leading analyst with PSIRU focused on the impact of privatization and liberalization on public services, especially water.

The report details how the private water industry relies on political interference — including lobbying, non-transparent dealings, political contributions, and revolving doors — and misleading PR to expand its market in the U.S.
And it cites specific examples of the failure of private water deals and the growing grassroots movement to take public systems back (i.e. remunicipalize). Here’s a sneak peek at some of the details the report reveals:
• Since 2003, more than 30 U.S. municipalities, including major cities like Atlanta and Indianapolis, have taken back control of their water systems from privateers like Suez (known as United Water in the U.S.) and Veolia.
• In cities like St. Louis, MO, and Akron, OH, a groundswell of public opposition based on the private water industry’s track record of abuse blocked proposed contracts.
• Water remunicipalization in the U.S. is part of a global trend, with more than 100 cases globally in the last two decades.
• In many cases, cities have saved millions of dollars after remunicipalizing; Paris, for instance, saved $46 million in the first year after terminating its contract with Veolia.

Opinion: DOT’s math on privatization adds up to ‘no deal’

Source: Ledger-Enquirer, September 22, 2014

….This much is unarguable: If “privatizing,” as the term has been coined, costs more than the government function cost taxpayers in the first place, then it’s a bad idea no matter what function we’re talking about. That, apparently, is the case with the Georgia Department of Transportation — or rather, would have been the case if a DOT committee hadn’t done its homework. The department was considering a contract for janitorial and other services at highway welcome centers and rest areas. The DOT sent out a request for proposals, and received two bids, one for $37.7 million and the other for $36.5 million. Except that, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Transportation Board’s Public-Private Partnership (P3) Committee determined that the DOT could employ people to do the same work for $27.8 million….

A plan to expand charter schools gains traction in Georgia

Source: Greg Bluestein, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gov. Nathan Deal said Wednesday that he wants lawmakers to study a plan for a statewide school district that could significantly increase the number of charter schools in Georgia. Deal said legislators should consider a system, known in Louisiana as a Recovery School District, that gives the state more powers to take over struggling schools and convert them to charters. The remarks came at an event with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, whose state pioneered the program…

Teamsters Launch Campaign Against Republic Services’ Discrimination in the South

Source: PR Newswire, September 5, 2014

Teamsters who work at Republic Services, Bill Gates’ giant trash corporation [NYSE: RSG], are fighting back against discrimination. Republic workers wore stickers in six states today to protest Republic’s wage discrimination system. In Atlanta, new hires are paid less at all levels for doing the same job as workers hired previously. In addition, African-American employees in Atlanta have filed U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges against Republic, alleging that the company offers overtime to white employees but not to black employees. Republic Services workers in Atlanta and McDonough, Ga., who are members of Teamsters Local Union 728, wore stickers today that read, “Republic Services: Stop the Wage Discrimination.” Teamsters who work for Republic in Alabama, Arkansas, West Virginia, Louisiana and Tennessee wore the same stickers to work today as well. …

Public, Private Funding for University-Led Manufacturing Innovation Partnerships

Source: State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI) blog, August 21, 2014

To revitalize the U.S. manufacturing base, states and private organizations are turning their attention to support university-led, manufacturing Research and Development (R&D) partnerships that reduce the cost of manufacturing domestically and equip U.S. manufacturers with cutting-edge technologies. Responsive to the needs of industry, these partnerships are intended to not only spur innovation, but also support economic prosperity in regions across the country. The Walmart Foundation and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett announced new funding for university-led manufacturing partnerships. In Arizona, the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) recently ended its 2014 application period for a program that provides small grants to fund university-industry partnerships that develop innovative manufacturing-related, tools and technologies for use aerospace and defense manufacturing industries….

Budgeting for Shared Services

Source: Paula Sanford, Government Finance Review, Vol. 30 no. 4, August 2014
(subscription required)

Sharing services can improve the efficiency of service delivery and sometimes allow jurisdictions to offer increased levels of service, but there are also logistical and financial challenges — not the least of which is developing an initial budget. Being prepared for challenges and addressing them early in budget process can prevent financial, service delivery, and even political problems down the road. This article examines the consolidation of the City of Macon and Bibb County, both in Georgia, into Macon-Bibb County, exploring some of the issues organizations are likely to encounter in developing a shared-services budget and provides strategies for successfully working through them….

It’s Time To Respond to Populist Opposition

Source: Robert W. Poole, Jr., Public Works Financing, Vol. 295, July/August 2014
(subscription required)

In April the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard published a five-page cover story called “HOT and Bothered,” which characterized the express toll lanes project on the Capital Beltway (I-495) as “another nightmare from the suburbs-hating traffic planners.” The article grossly misrepresented how this Fluor/Transurban toll concession project came about, and also attacked the principle of express toll lanes as horribly elitist: the cover illustration showed an overhead sign separating traffic into “Express Lanes” and “Riff-Raff.”…

OSHA Investigating Deadly Richmond County Garbage Truck Crash

Source: Randy Key, WJBF, August 13, 2014

There is new information concerning a deadly crash in Richmond County involving a trash truck that rolled down into a ravine. WJBF News Channel 6 has learned that the Operational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating the accident. A driver for Metropolitan Waste, 31-year-old Kennedy Fordham, was killed when he lost control of the truck on Rollins Road, and was pinned underneath it for several hours. …