Tag Archives: Virginia

How the Uber effect will reinvent public transit

Source: Rahul Kumar, American City & County, February 15, 2017

A recent study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) came to the headline-grabbing conclusion that up to 95 percent of New York City taxi rides could be met through only 2,000 on-demand 10-person shuttles. The study demonstrates what companies like Uber and Lyft are striving toward, but also what many public transit agencies are struggling to address: that future transportation systems will seamlessly and dynamically match riders with the best transit modes and routes. … Existing fixed route-based transit systems are just that: fixed. There are plenty of advantages to these systems, not the least of which is operational simplicity. But our nation’s backbone of transit agencies – often overburdened and underfunded – should be asking themselves “what service options do riders want?” as opposed to “what service options are the easiest for us to deliver?” The answer is personal public transit. This concept of on-demand mobility isn’t all that new, however. … Another issue is the cost and operation of paratransit. … Transit agencies from Boston to Washington have recently started to look to partners like Uber and Lyft to help provide a ride-hailing option to relieve fiscal and infrastructure pressures. A 2016 Brookings report estimates transit agencies could save $1.1 billion to $2.2 billion per year using ride-hailing companies for paratransit, based on an average $13 to $18 per ride. However, the secret here is that versus transit these savings do not scale up very well; ride-hailing services are really not designed to handle simultaneous, multiple trips efficiently, therefore even a bus with six passengers on it has less of a cost impact than six separately ordered Uber vehicles. … Forward-thinking city planners in Gainesville, Fla., and Helsinki are reevaluating the traditional transit equation and instead choosing to co-opt ridesharing and even autonomous vehicle technology to fill current service gaps in less densely populated areas. … Solving the inefficiency riddle will ultimately require transit agencies, technology companies and other innovators to seamlessly work together to maximize social benefits because public transit benefits every American—even if you don’t ride.

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Cities release invoices showing Uber bills
Source: Ryan Gillespie, Orlando Sentinel, January 25, 2017

Five Central Florida cities that cut deals with Uber hoping to boost SunRail ridership have released records revealing how much money they will pay the ride-sharing service, which the company had hoped to keep a “trade secret.” Cities began receiving invoices this week that tabulated costs through Jan. 17, which just surpasses the halfway point of the yearlong program. To that date, the highest total came from Altamonte Springs, which has paid for $14,863.59 in Uber rides. Sanford received a bill showing it owed $7,869.99. Additionally, Lake Mary owes $723.38 and Longwood owes $681.17, and Maitland owes $324.65 records show. In July, the cities began the one-year pilot with Uber to cover 25 percent of Uber fares on rides that start or finish at a SunRail station, and also start or finish within a city’s limits. Cities also cover 20 percent of rides on trips that start and finish within the borders of participating cities. …

Can public transit and ride-share companies get along?
Source: Kyle Shelton, The Conversation, September 22, 2016

In Centennial, Colorado and Altamonte Springs, Florida, residents and visitors can now get a free ride to the nearest train station. The ride is paid for by the local public transit agency, but it’s not a public bus that makes the trip. Rather, it’s a car driven by someone working for ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber. There are potential public benefits – the hope of increased ridership, better service for hard-to-serve areas and cost and equipment efficiencies. Competition could push sometimes slow-moving transit agencies to innovate and improve. There are also risks. Ride-sharing companies have devastated the private taxi market, effectively undercutting the entire industry in some cities. Mobility rights advocates and transit employees fear the same thing could happen to public transit, remaking, under private ownership, the way millions of Americans get around every day. … A likely outcome of ride-share and authority interaction is more of what is already taking shape in Colorado, Florida and many other locales – small-scale, replicable cooperation. Centennial and Altamonte Springs are attempting to address what is know in the transportation sector as the “first mile/last mile” problem. The idea is that many potential transit riders don’t use the service because it’s too far from either the beginning or end of a given trip. Offering ride-sharing as a way to connect from the doorway to the transit stop may help overcome this issue. … The biggest question about these new relationships is how well they meet riders’ needs over time. Disability rights advocates have already warned that substituting ride-share services for existing agency-run paratransit programs – on-demand rides for users with disabilities – may be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Public agencies and most private transportation companies are bound to provide these services to all users, but it’s not yet clear whether newer ride-sharing companies must also – or how contracting with a government agency might require it. …
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Metro halts plans to privatize parking

Source: Max Smith, WTOP, November 18, 2016

Metro has canceled a request for proposals to privatize its parking lots. Documents related to the procurement, dated Thursday, say that Metro must re-evaluate the requirements. When Metro published the initial formal request in September, it hoped to find a way to give a private company the responsibility for maintenance and upgrades in exchange for the rights to collect parking fees. General Manager Paul Wiedefeld included privatizing parking on his list of potential management changes for Metro back in March. Concerns about the proposal included whether there could be a conflict between maximizing parking revenue and maximizing the number of people who take the train rather than joining D.C. area traffic jams.

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The Deal That Could Hurt D.C. For 50 Years
Source: Donald Cohen, Huffington Post, September 15, 2016

Public transit in Washington, D.C., is in rough shape. After years of safety issues, including several train collisions, the agency in charge, the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA), is proposing to cut train service hours. But another proposal may be even more troubling. Two weeks ago, WMATA began taking bids from private companies to operate its parking facilities. In exchange for a big up-front payment to the agency, the winning company would collect fees from people parked at train stations for the next 50 years. … It discourages public transit. In order for the private company to make a profit, parking rates will have to go up — as much as 3% a year, according to WMATA. If it costs more money to park and ride the train, people may look for other ways into the city. We lose control of assets we own. In a similar 75-year deal, Chicago handed over its parking meters in 2008 to banking giant Morgan Stanley for a one-time $1.2 billion payment. But that’s not all it handed over. The city is penalized if they do anything that cuts into Morgan Stanley’s profit, like adding bus or bike lanes. … It’s short-term thinking. The parking facilities currently pull in nearly $50 million a year for WMATA. Privatization would send that money—and more—to a private company instead of the public. In Chicago, Morgan Stanley is on pace to make back its $1.2 billion upfront payment by 2020, with more than 60 years of meter money still to come. …

Metro Seeking Private Contractor to Manage Its Parking Garages; Prices Could Go Up
Source: Scott MacFarlane, NBC Washington, September 3, 2016

Metrorail is preparing to hand over responsibility of its lucrative parking garages to a private contractor, the News4 I-Team has learned. WMATA currently manages 26 parking garages and 30 parking lots among its stations in D.C., Virginia and Maryland. Now the agency is seeking bids from companies interested in operating, financing and maintaining the transit system’s parking system. … While WMATA would be giving up the bulk of its parking revenue, the contract would grant money to WMATA. While the amount is unknown, it could exceed WMATA’s current parking revenues. In its proposal to would-be contractors, WMATA suggests the price of “base parking fees” increase 3 percent each year for the duration of the deal. The agency said it would also consider expanding the hours during which parking is charged, to include holidays and late nights. … The bids from private contractors are due by Oct. 28. WMATA is seeking a 50-year agreement with the contractor, according to an agency proposal reviewed by the I-Team. The proposal said it expects to close the deal by next July 1. The contractor would oversee the system’s 59,267 daily parking spaces, 56 parking lots and garages, and 3,445 parking meters. …

Maryland’s Move to Pull Children From Group Homes Came Too Late for Teenager Who Died

Source: Heather Vogell, ProPublica, October 13, 2016

Once again, government actions against a controversial for-profit company’s chain of group homes for the disabled may have come too late to protect a child. ProPublica has learned that Maryland had begun pulling about 30 children out of homes owned and managed by AdvoServ in August, but hadn’t yet relocated a teenage girl when she died a month later after being manually restrained by staff. … Maryland, which plans to terminate its contract with AdvoServ at the end of this month, isn’t the only state to have increased its scrutiny of the company since the ProPublica series. In March, Delaware placed the company on probation, a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families said. In June, Florida officials said they had begun moving clients out of the company’s facility in the state, and stationed an investigator there. Through a spokesman, the company declined to comment on the decisions by Maryland and Delaware regulators. AdvoServ’s shortcomings add to the growing concerns about for-profit companies taking over delivery of human services, from prisons to hospice care, that were traditionally provided by government or non-profit agencies. … Officials elsewhere have repeatedly backed off from sanctioning the company, which is aided by well-connected lobbyists that include prominent former state legislators. In 2012, for example, Florida reneged on plans to bar an AdvoServ home, where both adults and a child had allegedly been punched and kicked, from accepting new clients for a year. … The girl was not the first teenager to die at an AdvoServ home. In 1997, a 14-year-old autistic boy with epilepsy was found dead in his bed with low levels of anti-seizure medicine in his blood. In 2013, a 14-year-old autistic girl died at the company’s Florida home after a night in which she was restrained — at times fastened to a bed and chair — while she vomited repeatedly. …

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Teenage Girl Dies After Incident at For-profit Group Home
Source: Heather Vogell, ProPublica, September 20, 2016

A teenage girl died last week after an incident at a group home in Delaware run by a for-profit company, AdvoServ, whose long record of problematic treatment ProPublica chronicled last year. Attorney Chris Gowen, who has a lawsuit against AdvoServ concerning a different teen, said he has learned workers were manually restraining the girl when she became unresponsive. He and his clients have spoken to current and former workers about the incident. … Delaware state police and regulators also haven’t said what happened to the 15-year-old from Maryland. The state medical examiner’s office is conducting an autopsy, but a spokeswoman said the results will not be made public. Maryland is one of several states that send difficult cases to AdvoServ because they cannot find beds and schooling closer to home. The company, which is owned by a private equity firm, is based in Delaware and reported last year that it cared for roughly 700 children and adults in that state, Florida, and New Jersey, and was expanding into Virginia. …

… The girl is not the first child to die under questionable circumstances at AdvoServ’s homes and schools. In 2013, Paige Lunsford, 14 and autistic, died at the company’s Florida complex after a night in which she was restrained – at times latched to a bed and chair – while she vomited repeatedly. And in 1997, 14-year-old Jon Henley, who was autistic and had epilepsy, was found dead in his bed one morning after an apparent seizure. An autopsy revealed low levels of anti-seizure medication in his blood. Regulators in multiple states have fielded decades of complaints of abuse, neglect and inadequate medical care at AdvoServ facilities. … A former worker for AdvoServ in Delaware, who asked that his name not be used, said he left three years ago in part because he felt staff did not receive enough training in deescalating conflicts or restraining clients. The company had been trying out new restraint procedures that were supposed to make restraints less forceful by involving more staff members. But, he said, with too few staff often available to carry out the restraints as planned, “It just becomes unsafe.” …

… The company is one of the few group home operators that still use restraint devices to confine clients who become aggressive. As ProPublica has reported, AdvoServ staff used such mechanical restraints on clients at its 200-bed campus northwest of Orlando roughly 28,000 times. Florida officials said in June that they were moving clients out of AdvoServ’s complex and stationing an investigator there to provide extra oversight during the transition, which they expected to take months.

Chesterfield custodial outsourcing saved $7.1 million

Source: Sean CW Korsgaard, Progress Index, September 26, 2016

When Chesterfield County school officials first made the decision to outsource custodial services, there was a great amount of concern and protest that the schools wouldn’t be cleaned. Less than two years later, it’s now clear not only are the schools still getting cleaned, but in terms of money saved, Chesterfield cleaned house. At a school board meeting earlier this month, school officials said that privatizing custodial services for the majority of the county’s 62 schools has resulted in $7.1 million in savings, which will now be sent toward classroom instruction. … The choice to outsource janitorial services to contractors at what was initially just eight schools in the 2014-15 school year was made with the goal of saving $1.5 million. The move drew nearly 200 complaints from teachers and school staff who wanted to keep those jobs “in house” — most notably from the Chesterfield Education Association, which represents more than a thousand teachers throughout the county. In spite of this, the program was expanded from those eight schools to 41 schools last year, with another 21 schools added this year. SSC Service Solutions, based out of Knoxville, Tennessee, which has had an agreement with Virginia Commonwealth University since 1994, has handled custodial services for the past year. About 500 custodians employed by SSC currently work in the school system, many of them former county employees. …

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Superintendent: Custodial outsourcing is here to stay
Source: Jim McConnell, Chesterfield Observer, September 21, 2016

Regardless of problems that occurred during its implementation, the county’s school system won’t abandon the outsourcing of custodial services to a private contractor. Chesterfield County Public Schools Superintendent James Lane noted during last week’s School Board meeting that the school system simply cannot afford to reverse course on outsourcing custodial work at county schools. … Chris Sorensen, assistant superintendent for finance, presented the School Board last week with a document that shows by the end of fiscal year 2017, the school system expects to save nearly $7.1 million over the first three years of custodial outsourcing. That’s $400,000 less than originally projected – a result, Sorensen said, of the board’s decision last year to retain nine custodians on the school system’s payroll who each had between 25 and 29 years of service. … More than 400 other custodians have lost their jobs over the past three years as the School Board sought to free up additional resources that could be used in the county’s classrooms. … The School Board implemented the final phase of its outsourcing program July 1, when Tennessee-based SSC Service Solutions assumed responsibility for custodial services at all 65 county schools and seven other buildings. … The School Board has come under fire both for its decision to outsource custodians, who were among its lowest-paid employees in the county school system, and for the performance of its selected contractors. Smith and Vice Chairwoman Carrie Coyner are the only current School Board members who were on the board when the school system hired GCA Services Group to manage custodial services at eight schools during the 2014-15 school year. By May 2015, the school system had logged nearly 200 complaints about the company’s performance. Most of the complaints noted a general lack of cleanliness at the outsourced schools, but there were also concerns about custodians failing to report for work on time and refusing to perform assigned duties. Several concerned citizens asked the School Board to abandon the outsourcing program and rehire custodians that had been terminated. Instead, the school system solicited a new round of proposals and chose SSC Service Solutions to take over the custodial contract. …

In Chesterfield, custodial outsourcing saved school system $7.1 million
Source: Markus Schmidt, Richmond Times-Dispatch, September 18, 2016

Chesterfield County school officials say their decision to outsource custodial services for most of the county’s 62 schools has produced $7.1 million in savings that’s being sent toward classroom instruction. The School Board’s decision to outsource the work two years ago sparked controversy over complaints of insubordination, poor management, and a general unwillingness to clean school facilities on the part of the private contractor that took over for school janitors. But because of the significant savings, reversing the decision would be impractical, Superintendent James F. Lane said after a presentation by the division’s finance department at last week’s School Board meeting. … Hoping to save $1.5 million in the 2014-15 school year by laying off school janitors and replacing them with a private contractor, the School Board hired Richmond-based GCA Service Group to begin the eight-school pilot program. But the division’s experiment generated nearly 200 complaints from teachers and principals that year alone. In one case, a woman who did not work for the company returned a full set of school keys to Lloyd C. Bird High School because she said the custodian who worked for GCA had been “thrown in jail,” according to a complaint. GCA was paid $1.64 million for the first 12 months that it handled the division’s custodial services. … For the second year, the division changed vendors and awarded the contract to Knoxville, Tenn.-based SSC Service Solutions, which has had an agreement with Virginia Commonwealth University since 1994. The new contract expanded the program from eight to 41 schools; the remaining 21 schools are included this year. The school system has not yet assessed the number of complaints about SSC to compare it with the number of complaints about GCA. … School officials initially projected that the division would save $7.5 million over three years. But keeping the nine workers employed by the school system will cost about $400,000 between now and 2021. The school system decided to account for the $400,000 cost now. …

Potentially harmful chemicals dumped outside dozens of Chesterfield County schools
Source: Mark Tenia, WRIC, September 4, 2015

Last month Chesterfield County’s environmental team let the school system know they had gotten an alert that floor cleaner had been dumped onto the ground outside of 36 schools. The county notified the state Department of Environmental Quality. … Officials say the custodians were trained on properly disposing chemicals, and have since been retrained. … Earlier this year Martin voiced concerns over outsourced custodians from GCA Services Group, responsible for eight schools in Chesterfield.  There were nearly 200 complaints against the company. A few months ago the school system announced a cleaning contract with SSC at 41 Chesterfield schools, all in an effort to save more than $3 million.

Custodial outsourcing: ‘This time it’s a lot better’
Source: Michael Buettner, Chesterfield Observer, June 24, 2015

School officials have expressed confidence that thorough upfront vetting and multiple layers of accountability will ensure that an expanded program of privatized custodial services at county schools will go more smoothly than the limited program that started last year. A committee of school principals and central office administrators has been working to finalize details of a contract with Knoxville, Tennessee-based SSC Service Solutions, and committee members said they already have been impressed with the company’s professionalism and attention to details. … The school division rolled out privatized custodial services at eight of the county’s 62 schools last year, and the contractor, GCA Services Group of Cleveland, Ohio, came under fire after school officials logged nearly 200 complaints about GCA custodians. The complaints ranged from failure to clean items like athletic mats to failing to lock schools’ exterior doors at night. Temple said she was still finding doors that had been left unlocked just the week before. “I feel like security is one of the biggest things [SSC is] bringing to us,” she said. A major purpose of the privatization program is to cut the school system’s spending on custodial services by $3.6 million, with the savings to be used to fund a 2 percent increase in teacher salaries….. SSC is in the process of hiring a regional manager who will work directly with Chesterfield [county], and school officials have participated in the interviewing process for that position, Evans said. …

Tazewell Co. considers privatizing management of county landfill

Source: Justin McLennan, WVVA, September 21, 2016

The Tazewell County Board of Supervisors is looking over a proposal by a Tennessee-based waste management service to take over the operation of the county’s landfill. One county official tells us the option makes good financial sense. But some residents are concerned about what it could mean for them. For decades, the Tazewell County landfill on Lynn Hollow road has been operated and owned by the county. … As it works now, Tazewell County residents can dump their trash here at no charge. But with the possibility of a private company taking over the day-to-day operations, some worry it would be the county’s residents left holding the bag. … According to Stacy, operating the landfill will cost the county $2.7 million next year. Santek Waste Services approached the county in February with a proposal that could save the county money. …

Staunton outsourcing substitute teachers

Source: Megan Williams, News Leader, September 19, 2016

Staunton is streamlining the process for recruiting, hiring, training and coordinating substitute teacher schedules by outsourcing the service through popular company, Source4Teachers. … A year ago, Jon Venn, human resources director for the school division and the city, began researching ways to make his department and the finance department more efficient and streamline what has been a tedious process. Venn contacted other school divisions across the state that currently use Source4Teachers, including Roanoke and Newport News. They reported “very positively,” about their experience, Venn said, and in the spring, Staunton Schools entered into an agreement with the company. Source4teachers manages the entire substitute program including payroll, recruiting, hiring, credentialing, training and orientation, substitute calling and evaluation of employees. … There is a mark-up of 34 percent over the existing substitute pay rate, Venn said. The mark-up includes, employer taxes, worker’s compensation, general liability insurance, unemployment taxes fees, use of the online substitute request system and use of the time clock system for substitutes. Because the service includes so many hard and soft costs, Venn said the school division could ultimately see savings in the long run. … Before Source4Teachers, which was officially implemented this fall, it was the responsibility of HR to recruit and train substitutes, and they were on the school division’s payroll. When a teacher needed a substitute, they informed the school’s secretary or principal who would then call to coordinate coverage for that teacher. Now, teachers make a substitute request online and Source4Teachers takes care of the scheduling, freeing up time and effort. …

Private Medical Contractors in Virginia Prisons (Audio)

Source: John Ogle, Idea Stations, September 1, 2016

A VCU expert was asked to investigate whether Virginia should be buying prison health care. Researchers found that facilities near large metropolitan areas, like Richmond, have access to major hospitals while for prisons in rural areas, private contractors are a useful option. Dr. Carolyn Watts chair the Department of Health Administration at VCU led the study. She and her team visited seven prison facilities and talked to a variety of people.

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30,000 Inmates, 40 Doctors: Health Care Remains A Concern At Virginia Prisons
Source: Sandy Hausman, WAMU, January 9, 2014

…In Virginia, the issue isn’t how many inmates the commonwealth has, but rather how they are cared for. A lawsuit over prison care is pending, and this year the General Assembly may consider more funding or reforms in how prison’s provide medical and mental health care to inmates… Amezquita says crowding is a problem, and she points to one other potential issue — care at many facilities is provided by a private company, Nashville-based Corizon, which has contracts for 500 prisons in 29 states including Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia….

Virginia to Pick Partner Soon for $2 Billion I-66 Toll Lane Project

Source: Jim Watts, Bond Buyer, August 8, 2016

Virginia plans to select the private partner in October for its $2 billion plan to add high occupancy toll lanes on Interstate 66 through a public-private partnership, while keeping open the public financing option. The final, detailed requests for proposals for the project were sent last week to investments teams short-listed for the project earlier this year. The state wants to toll the existing high-occupancy lanes along 25 miles on both sides of the interstate outside the Washington I-495 Beltway, and add a second express toll lane in each direction on the highway through Fairfax and Prince William counties. … The I-66 project will cost between $2 billion and $3 billion over the 50-year concession, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. …

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Virginia looking to build E-ZPass Express Lanes on I-66 and I-95 to DC
Source: Emily Miller, FOX 5, April 16, 2015

Public-private partnerships for roads are popular in Virginia because politicians can build new lanes on congested roads without raising taxes or cutting spending…. They are all looking for the next place to add E-ZPass Express Lanes. Transurban — the company that spent billions to build the new Express Lanes on the beltway and I-95 — was asked what’s next. Expand up I-95 all the way to the D.C. bridges? I-66 outside the beltway?….

U.Va. needs less privatization, more accountability

Source: Helen E. Dragas, News Leader, July 7, 2016

Yet since 2009, the university has raised in-state tuition by 74 percent, cut grant aid to the poorest Virginians, formed an administrative committee to explore secession from the state, hired a private university governance consultant for $200,000, spent more than $100 million on financial aid to out-of-state students, raised the net price for some Virginia families to subsidize others, and proposed gagging board members from talking to legislators, the press and the public. Thousands of Virginia students who seek admission are denied a coveted spot every year. The University of Virginia is slowly being privatized. … Gov. McAuliffe and the General Assembly should make strengthening transparency and accountability a priority for the 2017 session through a few simple measures. First, they should ensure that the women and men appointed to serve our public colleges understand and pledge to uphold their primary duty to Virginia citizens. Requiring significantly more rigorous orientation and training delivered by independent, objective sources would help board members see through a wider lens than that of administrators. Having witnessed abuse of Virginia’s sunshine laws by out-of-state appointees in order to increase in-state tuition by double digits, I believe legislators should stipulate that only Virginians be allowed to serve as board officers and chairs of certain critical committees. …

Outsourcing plan halted at libraries

Source: Hillary Chester, Prince Williams Times, June 30, 2016

Prince William County staff have ceased their search into outsourcing the management of the library system. In a 7-1 vote at the Prince William Board of County Supervisors meeting on June 21 the board decided to cease efforts looking into outsourcing the libraries following their closed session. … Gainesville Supervisor Peter Candland, the champion of the idea, was the lone dissenting vote. “I believe, it is our responsibility to look at all options,” Candland said before the vote. Candland proposed outsourcing the libraries’ management at the board’s April 19 meeting. He raised the option as a way to save approximately $3 million during the board’s budget season. …

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Efforts to privatize library management ended
Source: Potomac Local, June 23, 2016

A plan to seek requests for proposals to outsource the management of Prince William County’s Public Libraries is dead. The county’s Board of Supervisors voted 7-1 on Tuesday to kill the measure proposed this past spring by Gainesville Supervisor Peter Candland. He gave the dissenting vote. …

Library outsourcing: Is $3 million worth the worry?
Source: Hillary Chester, Prince Williams Times, May 18, 2016

Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland brought up the idea as a way to save money. The vice chair of the board said that the county had been approached by a company, later identified as LSSI, to help outsource management and that he had spoken with its representatives. According to the Candland during the April 19 meeting, the county would still own its 11 libraries. … The board did not agree to include outsourcing into this year’s budget at their April 19 meeting, but they did vote 7-1 to move forward with the a review of a RFP proposal. The RFP will return to the board for consideration on June 21. … In FY15 alone, there were 2,958 programs and special events held in the libraries that 105,615 people attended which equals to 246.5 programs and special events a month. For 11 libraries, two of which cost $14 million and $11 million to build, with 291 full-time and part-time employees, the library system’s proposed budget for FY17 is $16.9 million. The net general tax support is $13.8 million. … Gilman’s email also revealed the money saving aspects of the volunteers. The system currently has more than 300 active volunteers, as of April 2016, that save the library $609,996 in salaries year-to-date. Privatizing would reduce the number of volunteers and services. …

What is cut if Prince William library management goes private?
Source: Potomac Local, May 9, 2016

Could a plan to outsource some library operations save millions? The majority of the members of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors want to find out. The Board approved issuing a request for proposals (RFP) from private companies who would bid on taking over the daily management operations of the county’s 11 library branches. Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland said he’s “done homework” and spoken with such a company that could provide management services. The move could save as much as $15 million over the next five years, he added. … Gillman estimates a move to privatize management services could mean a 22 percent reduction in the the library system’s budget. That could amount to fewer new library books and materials purchased, fewer programs for children and adults, and shorter operating hours — things library patrons asking for more of, said Gillman. … By the books, the Prince William County Public Library System employs 208 full-time positions. Many of those are part-time jobs.  Last year, the library system’s adopted budget was $17.4 million, up 19% over the past five years. …