Tag Archives: Rhode Island

Court won't review privatization law

Source: BY STEVE PEOPLES, Providence Journal (RI), Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The state Supreme Court will not review the constitutionality of Rhode Island’s controversial privatization law. Governor Carcieri sought an advisory opinion from the high court after arguing that the law — passed near midnight in the waning days of the 2007 General Assembly session — essentially blocked his ability to save money by replacing state workers with temporary contractors. The use of contractors can save tax dollars largely because they don’t receive health and retirement benefits from the state. The fight largely epitomized the Republican governor’s clash with organized labor and its supporters in the Democrat-dominated General Assembly.

…… Specifically, the amended law requires the administration to give union leaders six months notice of attempts to replace union workers. And it requires the administration to provide a detailed cost analysis 60 days before asking private staffing firms to bid on the service in question.

Governor wants $200 million for contract employees

Source: By Steve Peoples, Providence Journal (RI), Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Governor Carcieri has proposed spending more than $200 million on contract employees for the coming year, according to a report presented last night before a packed meeting of the House Finance Committee.

…… Union officials said the public should know more about the use of contractors, especially given the massive state budget deficit for the coming year. “I know they can’t eliminate all the contract employees,” said James Cenerini, a lobbyist for the largest state employees union, Council 94 of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees. “But I think taxpayers should know how much money is being spent to pay contractors.”

Carcieri wants court to overturn law against privatizing state workers

Source: By Steve Peoples, Providence Journal (RI), Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Governor Carcieri has asked the state’s highest court to strike down a law passed last year that he says threatens to paralyze Rhode Island government by blocking his ability to use private companies to conduct state business. The governor’s office hand-delivered a letter to the state Supreme Court yesterday seeking an advisory opinion over whether the labor-backed “anti-privatization bill” — as it is called by critics — is constitutional.

…….. Carcieri’s move yesterday drew criticism from labor unions, which had been in closed-door “discussions” with the governor’s office in recent months to negotiate concessions the governor needs to help balance a current-year $151-million deficit.

……. The negotiations also included the largest state employees union, Council 94, American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees.

Is selling the state lottery worth the gamble?

Source: By Benjamin N. Gedanm, Providence Journal, Sunday, February 10, 2008

For five decades, state governments have maintained a stranglehold on lotteries, reaping huge gambling profits from the monopoly.

That tradition could be coming to an end, as cash-strapped states consider selling their games to private operators. The sales would generate a windfall to pay for roadway and school construction or to erase unfunded pension liabilities, while drying up annual lottery revenues that have been propping up state budgets.

For global lottery operator GTECH Holdings Corp., however, the potential changes would likely boost yearly profits.

……. GTECH executives have been meeting with state legislators across the country to discuss privatization and to project the potential growth in lottery revenue. Their message: squeamish state governments are surrendering millions in gambling winnings.

Panel blasts staffing deal

Source: By Katherine Gregg, Providence Journal (RI), Tuesday, February 5, 2008

After a months-long inquiry last winter, the Senate Government Operations Committee yesterday issued a report slamming the Carcieri administration for giving a state staffing contract worth up to $11 million annually to a fledgling company under terms — offered no other potential bidders — that amounted to an “interest-free loan” from the state.

….. Among the key findings: The executive branch “inhibited” the Senate inquiry, “violated the spirit of the Access to Public Records Act” by withholding requested documents; and undermined the basic tenets of competitive bidding by offering to front the money to make each biweekly payroll to the newly incorporated Smart Staffing Services Inc., without giving the same opportunity to any other company.

Unions: Gov. trying to scare older workers

Source: By Katherine Gregg, Providence Journal (RI), Wednesday, January 30, 2008

………. While most of yesterday’s testimony centered on Carcieri’s attempts to cut employee benefits, the hearing also provided a forum for Carcieri’s top legal adviser, Kernan F. King, to argue for the repeal of what he characterized as an “anti-privatization” law passed last year.

Defenders say the new law simply requires the administration to do a detailed cost-benefit analysis before it hires a private company to do work now done by state employees, but King said the law would stretch a routine contract award out over three years and give new opportunities to sue to anyone potentially affected by a privatization.

…. But James Cenerini, lobbyist for Council 94, American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, told the committee that “Carcieri’s track record on privatization does not warrant blind trust or a blank check.”

Bill would soften anti-privatization law

Source: By Steve Peoples, Providence Journal (RI), Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Less than a year after it became law, the General Assembly may reconsider a controversial “anti-privatization” bill criticized by a handful of Democrats who say it goes too far in blocking the governor’s ability to save money by replacing state workers with private contractors.

……. Gablinske’s bill, which won’t be considered until the Assembly reconvenes in January, substantially weakens current law by removing language that allows unions, individual employees, or even state program recipients such as hospital patients, to appeal privatization decisions to Superior Court.

U. contractor under fire for anti-union violence

Source: Brown Daily Herald (RI). 11/30/05 Section

Martins Maintenance, a janitorial contractor employed by the University, is being criticized by the local chapter of the Service Employees International Union for allegedly assaulting and firing an employee who talked to union organizers. ….. Martins Maintenance was one of several outside contractors hired by the University three years ago when Brown Dining Services extended the hours of some of its retail locations, such as the Gate, said Mark Nickel, director of the University News Service.