Tag Archives: New York

School board rejects plan to privatize food services

Source: Christina Daly, Long Beach Herald, July 13, 2017

The Long Beach Board of Education voted 3-2 to reject a plan to privatize the school district’s lunch program that administrators said would have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars. At a contentious July 6 meeting, the board rejected a bid by Chartwells, a food- service company, to take over the district’s food operations and help fill a budget gap. School officials said the district lost about $400,000 in food services in each of the past two years due to a lack of student participation in the federally funded National School Lunch Program, which partially reimburses the district for lunches that the agency considers healthy. …

Authorization To Fix The Crumbling BQE Faster Stalls In Albany

Source: Emma Whitford, Gothamist, July 12, 2017
 
Legislation that the Department of Transportation predicted could shave years and millions of dollars off of critical Brooklyn Queens Expressway repairs floundered in Albany this session, to the frustration of local politicians, policy groups, labor unions, pro-business groups, and residents who live alongside the decaying BQE triple cantilever in Brooklyn Heights. … There is a basic resistance in Albany, and upstate generally, to what is considered privatization of the state contracting process,” she added. “The main opposition comes from public service unions that are concerned about their jobs somehow disappearing or being diminished.” (“We wanted to ensure that men and women in the state workforce, who are perfectly trained and qualified to do the work, didn’t lose their jobs because of design build outsourcing,” stated Emily Cote, director of communications for the Civil Service Employees Association.) …

Lawmakers Question Trump’s Stake in Subsidized Housing Complex

Source: Yamiche Alcindor, New York Times, July 10, 2017
 
Two congressional Democrats are demanding more information about President Trump’s potential conflicts of interest stemming from his part ownership of the nation’s largest federally subsidized housing complex, which they say could benefit financially from decisions made by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. … Mr. Trump stands to make millions from his 4 percent stake in Starrett City, a sprawling affordable housing complex in Brooklyn, according to a 10-page letter written by Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the House Oversight Committee’s top Democrat, and Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, whose district includes the complex. … The men added that they also worry that Mr. Trump’s proposed budget would make steep cuts to many housing programs but “would leave the type of federal aid that flows to the owners of Starrett City mostly intact.” … Mr. Cummings and Mr. Jeffries are also concerned about the appointment of Lynne Patton, a longtime Trump family associate, to lead the department’s New York and New Jersey office.

Middletown, sanitation union clash over privatization

Source: James Nani, Times Herald-Record, June 25, 2017
 
Major changes to city sanitation services are unlikely to materialize this year after negotiations between city and union officials to privatize waste-hauling reached an impasse. The city and the CSEA union, that represents more than 100 city workers and about 14 city sanitation workers, had been negotiating a new contract since late 2014. … CSEA Southern Region President Billy Riccaldo has claimed that the costs of outsourced sanitation have “spiraled out of control in many communities after initial lowball bids” and that outsourcing means surrendering control on prices, scheduling and other factors that can affect price and inconvenience residents. Jessica Ladlee, a CSEA spokeswoman, said members do not want to trade negotiating people out of their union for salary increases.

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Middletown explores outsourcing waste hauling
Source: James Nani, Record Online, May 2, 2017

Middletown officials are in negotiations with the union representing city sanitation workers as the city explores outsourcing waste hauling, a move that could eliminate the 14-member department. The talks with the union come as Middletown considers two options to reduce the cost of city sanitation services: either privatizing the services or downsizing and automating part of the department. … But under a push by Alderman Joe Masi, the city last released a request for proposals on the costs of private waste haulers to take over all waste services. As part of the request, any private hauler who wins a contract with the city would have to hire all city sanitation workers for one year. The move has met with resistance by the CSEA, which represents city sanitation workers. …

Re-privatized NYRA has mostly the same directors

Source: Rick Karllin, Times Union, June 8, 2017
 
The New York Racing Association, which in April was returned to private control after five years of state oversight, has a new board of directors. Under the privatization deal, lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed to let the current board’s executive committee name eight of the 17 board members. As expected, they mostly reappointed themselves to the eight seats. There are, however, two new voting members, Richard Violette and Jeff Cannizzo, both with the state horsemen and breeders associations.

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New York Racing Association Privatization Plan Approved
Source: Tom Precious, Blood Horse, April 8, 2017
 
The New York Racing Association, operating under the control of the state government since 2012, will be returned to private hands under a deal that came together April 7 at the New York Capitol.  The measure was quietly and tentatively agreed to days ago, but it was caught up in a larger fight over the state budget that halted passage of it and dozens of other unrelated matters. That fight ended late Friday night. …

Governor Cuomo vetoes NYRA privatization bill
Source: NEWS10, February 2, 2017

The New York Racing Association won’t be going public anytime soon. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have switched public control of NYRA to the private sector. The governor left the bill unsigned past its deadline, triggering an automatic veto. The state took over NYRA in 2012, however, Governor Cuomo has laid out more plans in his 2017 budget to eventually re-privatize the horse racing association.

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Lawmakers Tour Penn Station as Christie, Cuomo Call for Privatization

Source: Lucy Yang, WABC, May 12, 2017
 
New Jersey state lawmakers toured Penn Station Friday to get a first-hand look at infrastructure in desperate need of repair after an ongoing wave of delays have left commuters frustrated and angry. And it comes as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo are pushing to privatize the transit hub. … The legislators got an eye-opening glimpse at the scope of work that Amtrak will undertake this summer, including the spaghetti junction of tracks and switches that needed to be replaced after a train derailment last month paralyzed service on New Jersey Transit, LIRR and Amtrak lines for a week. … On Thursday, Christie and Cuomo issued a joint letter declaring they have lost all faith in Amtrak. … If Amtrak agrees to contract out the running of Penn Station, the governors also want the right to approve any future, private contractor. …

Massena Memorial Hospital officials not disclosing affiliation plans

Source: Andy Gardner, North Country Now, April 29, 2017 

Massena Memorial Hospital officials are still not close to publicly naming the health system with which they want to affiliate.  MMH is going through the process of privatizing, which includes picking a bigger system which they will join to some degree.  Although CEO Robert Wolleben late last year said he was hopeful they could name the potential affiliate by February, but on Monday MMH board finance committee chairman Scott Wilson said he can’t commit to them being able give the name by next month. …

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Massena town lawmakers not ready to give details on MMH asset transfer process
Source:Andy Gardner, North Country Now, March 15, 2017
 
Town councilors declined to comment when an official from Massena Memorial Hospital’s CSEA chapter asked for an update on the asset transfer process.  MMH is in the process of going from a town-owned hospital to a private, non-profit entity.  Part of that process involves a valuation of all hospital assets so the town can be compensated.  “Anything we’ve discussed is of a confidential nature. I don’t think we should discuss it,” Councilman Steve O’Shaughnessy replied after local CSEA Vice President Kerrie French asked for an update at the Wednesday town meeting. …

Massena Memorial Hospital narrows field of prospective affiliates; months to go before privatization approval
Source: Andy Gardner, North Country Now, December 20, 2016

Now that the state has given a Certificate of Need, it will take Massena Memorial Hospital another six to eight months before getting IRS approval to privatize, their CEO said Monday. Meanwhile, they have narrowed down to two potential affiliates, he said. … They need to be designated a 501c3 entity and name an affiliate before they can privatize. Last week, MMH received the CoN from the state, allowing them to operate as a private entity. Earlier this year, MMH sent out requests for proposals to 17 larger healthcare systems. They received five that fit what they are looking for and have narrowed that down to two. … MMH started talking about privatization years ago in light of losing millions in operation each year and only remaining financially solvent through government bailouts, most of which covered their yearly state pension payment and left them breaking even. Since Wolleben took the helm, MMH started finishing each month in the black and have done so for nearly two years. …

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Niagara County pushes for new county-wide ambulance service

Source: Jenn Schanz, News 4 Reporter, April 3, 2017

Officials in Niagara County want Mercy EMS to provide county-wide ambulance services. The non-profit would replace Twin City and American Medical Response, which are currently providing services to the county. The conflict started in the summer of 2016, when American Medical Response pulled out of the majority of Niagara County. … Kelemen stated response times for rural mental health patients have been so bad so that law enforcement has had to help. … That often deters patients from wanting to call for help again, Kelemen told us. Schultz pointed out it also takes deputies off the street. …

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Town of Niagara ends ambulance roulette, signs with Mercy EMS
Source: Al Vaughters, WIVB, August 11, 2016

Town of Niagara lawmakers met in an emergency session Wednesday, to approve a contract with Mercy EMS for ambulance services, rejecting an offer from the previous ambulance provider to continue its services. Local officials across Western New York have struggling with complaints about the reliability of ambulance services, across the board, which can often be the difference between life and death. Niagara town officials settled on Mercy because they were getting fed up with the AMR/Rural Metro’s lack of commitment, said Town Supervisor Lee Wallace … Rural Metro, and its successor AMR Emergency Medical Services, had been providing ambulance service for years, then last month, AMR gave town officials a 30-day notice they were terminating their contract. … In fact, AMR notified public safety officials they were pulling out of Niagara County altogether, except for the City of Niagara Falls, St. Mary’s Hospital, and Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. Then when local officials started looking to other ambulance services, an about face by AMR–they would like to stay with the Town of Niagara. Wallace said that was just too much uncertainty, so the town is going with Mercy ambulance service starting Monday, rather than returning to the bargaining table with AMR. …

Federal Cuts Could Force N.Y.’s Creative Hand

Source: Paul Burton, Bond Buyer, March 24, 2017

The specter of massive cuts in federal domestic aid could force New York City officials to think outside the box about how to salvage programs now financed by the feds. … The New York City Housing Authority alone could lose up to $150 million in operating funds and up to $220 million in capital funding. … “The biggest issue for New York City is the housing program,” said Howard Cure, director of municipal bond research for Evercore Wealth Management. One creative option, according to Cure, is to convert some properties to the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration, or RAD, program, which the Department of Housing and Urban Development operates. It allows public housing agencies to fully own their public housing units and to renovate or redevelop the housing using private financing sources. The renovated or new housing receives rental support for the residents through a project-based Section 8 subsidy. … While Trump has called for more public-private partnerships, New York and other Empire State cities still need approval from state lawmakers to execute P3s. …

Governor agrees to direct-care worker raises

Source: Ben Gocker, Adirondack Daily Enterprise, March 30, 2017

Gov. Andrew Cuomo surpassed the state Legislature Tuesday in offering pay raises to people who work with those with disabilities. Cuomo’s $55 million goes beyond $45 million proposed by both the state Senate and Assembly. Cuomo had not included any increases for these workers in his initial state budget in January. The size of the increase will be worked out in ongoing budget negotiations between the two legislative chambers and the governor. The additional funds would help direct-support professionals who work for nonprofit organizations that contract with the state, such as the Adirondack Arc and Citizen Advocates, but not workers for state agencies such as the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, who tend to have better pay and benefits. … #bFair2DirectCare, a statewide coalition of advocates for New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, their families and their direct care providers, has been fighting for better pay for these private-sector workers. … Most of the funding Adirondack Arc receives comes from Medicaid, and CEO Sadie Spada said consistent cuts to Medicaid affect her organization’s ability to pay workers what they deserve. …