Tag Archives: Nevada

ALEC v Kids: ALEC’s Assault on Public Education

Source: Progress Florida, Better Georgia, Progress Iowa, Progress Michigan, Progress Missouri, Progress Now Nevada, Progress Texas, Alliance for a Better Utah, Progress VA, 2013

From Progress Iowa’s summary:
Read the new report detailing the damaging influence the corporate front group ALEC has on public education policy. The report, ALEC v Kids, demonstrates the growing influence ALEC holds in Iowa and across the country, including its secretive access to elected officials and the drafting of ‘model’ education policy designed to benefit ALEC’s corporate funders which compliant lawmakers pass off as their own then push into law.

Among the key findings in ALEC v Kids:

Iowa enacted ALEC’s indirect voucher policy in 2006, a tax giveaway to defund public education and instead provide tax breaks for attending private schools

ALEC is attempting to expand charter schools across the country, including in Iowa. Governor Vilsack signed legislation in 2002 establishing a pilot program of charter schools, and although this year’s legislation did not pass, ALEC and its ally Students First appear to be gearing up for renewed legislative efforts in our state.

Bridgepoint Education, a corporate member of ALEC’s education task force, operates one of their two online universities in Iowa (Ashford University in Clinton). Bridgepoint has an abysmal track record, one of the worst of any of their competitors (84.4% of students seeking an associates degree withdraw from school).

ALEC v. Kids focuses on nine states, and analyzes the disastrous effect of ALEC’s education policy. The report details examples at the state level, specifically the negative effects of ALEC policies and the coordination between ALEC and its allies. By examining the real world effects of ALEC policies and coordination across a single issue, this report examines ALEC from a unique perspective.

Bus service ‘disruption’ looms

Source: Joe Hawk, Las Vegas Review-Journal, February 11, 2013

…local transit service could experience a “disruption” this midsummer if Veolia Transportation is not awarded a new contract to operate and maintain buses for the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, the president of the union for drivers threatened in both an email and follow-up phone call last week… Instead, using a two-tier system to winnow the field of applicants, the RTC recommended to its eight-person board of directors that its northern Lot A be operated by MV Transportation and its southern Lot B be operated by Keolis Transit America….

…In winning the recommendation for Lot A, MV Transportation came in with a low bid of $525,707,909 for the four-year contract that has four two-year options. Keolis Transit was second at $572,313,480 and Veolia was third at $577,116,071. Keolis took the Lot B recommendation with a low bid of $497,931,450 for the five-year contract with two two-year options, while Veolia’s bid was $511,390,149. MV Transportation did not bid on Lot B. MV Transportation is based in Dallas and has 130 operations in 28 states, as well as Washington, D.C., two Canadian provinces and Saudi Arabia. Keolis Transit, based in Los Angeles, has more than 100 operations, primarily in California but some in south Florida….
Major contract in Las Vegas – Keolis Group strengthens its position in North America
Source: CNW Canada Newswire, February 28, 2013

Keolis Transit America (KTA), a sister subsidiary of Keolis Canada, was unanimously awarded a contract by the board of directors of Southern Nevada’s Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) to operate the majority of the urban transportation network in Las Vegas. This major win fits the Keolis Group growth strategy in North America….

RTC approves controversial bus contracts
Source: Richard N. Velotta, Vegas Inc, February 14, 2013

…Union representatives heckled MV Transportation CEO Carter Pate when he said the company would hire all employees back with the same wages and “similar” benefits. He said he couldn’t promise the same benefits because the company’s health care responsibilities under new federal legislation aren’t clear….

A County Manager’s Guide to Shared Services in Local Government

Source: Eric Zeemering, Daryl Delabbio, IBM Center for the Business of Government, 2013

Budget stress in the wake of the recent recession has been an incentive for many U.S. local officials to explore new cooperative relationships with neighboring jurisdictions . County governments are in a strategic position to develop shared service projects and interlocal agreements for service delivery.

Interlocal agreements are agreements or contracts between two or more local units of governments to provide services to their citizens. Interlocal agreements between local government units are growing in popularity, and over half the U.S. county officials surveyed for this report point to increased discussions about shared service in the last year . Counties explore shared service delivery to:
• Stimulate innovation in their local communities
• Improve government decision-making
• Increase levels or quality of service
• Improve working relationships with other local governments
Study finds growing interest in shared services
Source: Charles Taylor, County News, Vol. 45 No. 3, February 11, 2013

New York announces $2.4 million settlement in overcharging scheme / Company will reimburse hundreds of state and local government entities

Source: Larry Conley, American City and County, January 18, 2013

Nearly 1,000 New York government entities will receive a check for overcharges as part of a $2.4 million settlement with one of the nation’s largest medical waste disposal companies. Under the agreement, Stericycle, Inc., will fully reimburse New York police and fire departments, schools, hospitals, prisons and other entities for a scheme to charge automated price increases without notice and in violation of contract terms. … Government entities affected by the overcharges are located throughout New York. Some entities receiving the largest compensation include the WF Bruen Rescue Squad, Rensselaer, $26, 671.16; Albany Sheriff’s Correctional, $22,160.28; Broome Community College, Binghamton, $13,966.86; Clinton Correctional Facility, Dannemora, $21,094.35; and Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, $9,409.46. …
Lawsuit: Stericycle systematically overcharged governmental agencies
Source: Jeremy Carroll, Waste & Recycling News, January 8, 2013

Stericycle Inc. systematically overcharged governmental agencies throughout the country, including the federal government, a whistleblower lawsuit alleges. The suit, first filed in 2008 in Illinois, was unsealed Jan. 8. Former employee Jennifer Perez is named as a plaintiff, along with 14 states, the federal government and the District of Columbia. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman alluded to the lawsuit after he announced a $2.4 million settlement against the Lake Forest, Ill.-based medical waste giant Jan. 8. …

From the lawsuit:
Stericycle is a company that collects and disposes of medical waste throughout the United States. Stericycle has defrauded federal, state and local governments by knowingly or recklessly overcharging its governmental customers and by withholding accurate pricing data from its customers when it agrees to pick up medical waste. Stericycle tails to inform its customers that despite the contract price it has agreed to, Stericycle intends to and adds unallowable surcharges to each bill, in addition to an undisclosed 18% across the board increase every 9 months. Stericycle conceals its intent to add these increases to each bill because it knows governmental customers would never agree to them if disclosed in advance.

Public money spent on private business can be a gamble

Source: Jason Hidalgo, Reno Gazettte-Journal/ USA Today, July 30, 2012

… As founder and chairman of video game developer 38 Studios, Schilling convinced Rhode Island officials in 2010 to give his company a $75 million loan guarantee in exchange for relocating from Massachusetts. It was a public-private partnership that was supposed to bring in 450 new jobs and kick start a new industry that Rhode Island could grow. … The spectacular rise and collapse of 38 Studios serves as a cautionary tale about what can go wrong when public money is used to support private enterprise….. In some cases, jobs produced by companies being incentivized do not match expectations, said Thomas Cafcas, a research analyst who tracks Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states for national policy resource center Good Jobs First….

Letter to the editor: Privatizing DMV functions is wrong

Source: Vishnu Subramaniam, Las Vegas Sun, October 3, 2011

The wait times for driving exams at DMV offices around the state are getting longer. To address the issue, the DMV director has proposed allowing private driver examiners to conduct these exams. I agree wholeheartedly that we must reduce wait times for citizens. However, the plan to hand over this duty to a private company will compromise the privacy and safety of Nevadans — and likely at a higher cost.

Online and Outsourced

Source: Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, September 19, 2011

Nevada should create an online community college and outsource its operation to a vendor, such as a for-profit or Western Governors University, according to a new report from a task force convened by the Nevada System of Higher Education’s chancellor, Daniel Klaich….The overall theme of expanding student access to two-year degrees is one many faculty members and community college leaders support. But a privatized online college? Not so much.

State board OKs $176 million contract to oversee Medicaid

Source: Cy Ryan, Las Vegas Sun, Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Despite the complaint of a rival, a five-year, $176.9 million contract has been awarded to HP Enterprise Services to take over the bill-paying and fraud-checking in the state’s giant Medicaid program. … Rival company ACS State Healthcare claimed the state did not comply with the rules in awarding the contract. ….

…The board also approved $396,890 to pay off vendors who operate self-service kiosks at state Department of Motor Vehicles locations. Newly-installed Director Bruce Breslow said the kiosks are becoming increasingly popular as “people are getting the word they do not have to stand in line.”

County OKs airport privatization

Source: Kurt Hildebrand, Record-Courier, January 5, 2011

County commissioners approved a two-year contract with an independent company to manage the Minden-Tahoe Airport. ABS Aviation Management and airport manager Bobbi Thompson received glowing reviews from four residents associated with the airport on Monday. Assistant County Manager Steve Mokrohisky said the county hired ABS when manager Keith Kallman left in spring. Privatizing the airport will result in a savings of $50,000 a year over what the county is paying its employees.