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Hard hit Canadian, American cities contracting out police, garbage, other workers

dont privatize schools not for sale

“We’re on the cutting edge here. We’re the tip of the spear,” said Magdalena Prado, Maywood’s community-relations officer, who works for the city as a contractor. In Canada, “I’m gonna go over this with a fine-tooth comb — it isn’t over,” an angry CUPE Local 82 president Jim Wood said of the staff report and about council’s outsourcing decision.

Faced with a $118 million budget deficit, the city of San Jose, Calif., recently decided it could no longer afford its own janitors. So the city’s budget called for dropping its custodial staff and hiring outside contractors to clean its city hall and airport, saving about $4 million.

To keep all its swimming pools open and staffed, the city is replacing some city workers with contractors.

“These are cases where the question is being asked, ‘Is this a core service at the city level?’ ” said Michelle McGurk, senior policy adviser to the San Jose mayor.

After years of whittling staff and cutting back on services, towns and cities are now outsourcing some of the most basic functions of local government, from policing to trash collection. Services that cities can no longer afford to provide are being contracted to private vendors, counties or even neighboring towns.

“You can do across-the-board cuts for only so long,” said Andrew Belknap, Western Regional Vice President for Management Partners, a government consulting group. “It’s gone from the tactical cost cutting to get through a recession, to in some cases saying we have to exit that business or service altogether.” Masscops

Maywood, a tiny city southeast of Los Angeles, is taking contracting to the extreme. The city of around 40,000 is letting go of its entire staff and contracting with outsiders to perform all city services. The city is disbanding its police force and handing public safety over to the Los Angeles County Sheriff. Its neighbor, the city of Bell, will take over running Maywood’s City Hall.

Most would support the privatization if it meant that the loss of these union positions would actual mean that we would save money.
We won’t! They will just find some special interest group to fund or other way to waste it. Remember, the government, especially the ones in North America, does not come up with a budget, then ask the people of their cities for what they need. They just reach into our pockets and grab onto as much as they can get their grimy mitts on!

Looking at the privatization of other services like water, yes, that is an interesting fact. It proves that private companies can make mistakes just like municipal employees. Other than that, if we’re suggesting that city workers would be better trained or less prone to making mistakes based on incidents caused either by private or public companies, we’re really grasping at straws. Especially when you consider that the states and the municipalities are still ultimately responsible for the quality of the services delivered.

The problems with P3s

Here is the thing about P3’s which is exactly what many states and municipalities are proposing (a Public, Private, Partnership). They want to use a”strategic partnership” because if most called it a P3 it would be dead in the water. In a P3 the private guy is there to make money. So whatever they do – then need to do at a 30% premium. So yes the cost of the upgrades are covered by the private company and therefore they don’t come from the public sector upfront – but that cost is worked into the rates they charge the city, so over the life of the upgrade the public is paying for it anyway, plus more.

Why you ask? because governments can borrow at cheaper rates that private companies and this is why Government bonds pay lower rates that private sector bonds. The loan is less risky. Then you have to add the 30% profit margin. So the long term cost is greater in the private sector than the public.

If the private company operates the upgrades – keep in mind that the way to produce the biggest profit is reduce operating costs (since the rates will be fixed the income would be the same for private and public operation). So what does this mean? It means cheaper and therefore less skilled people managing the safe production of your drinking water or other utilities.

New Jersey considers privatization: AllVoices

One proposal is to privatize vehicle inspections and make motorist pay for their cars emissions test. Critics have called this the same as a tax. Assemblyman Luis Greenwald said the governor has not met a fee hike that he couldn’t endorse. Fee is just another world for tax.

Proposals include letting a private company handle cafeterias, health care, and education programs in the state prisons.

The state’s eighteen career centers for the unemployed would be privatized and a private company would handle workers’ compensation claims.

Other recommendations include privatizing bus maintenance and parking facility operations, two functions which New Jersey Transit handles. Toll collections should be outsourced to a company that would pay workers 50% less than they are paid now. Critics of this proposal said that the administration just wants to cut public employees and make them scapegoats.

Canadian city struck hardest by economic downturn

WINDSOR, Ont. — With this week’s decision to privatize Windsor’s garbage and blue box operations, council has voted to trim more than 200 positions from the city’s workforce since last fall.

Both union and non-union positions, everything from early child-care educators and firefighters, to clerks, secretaries and general managers, have been eliminated from the ranks.

Taking part-time positions into consideration, chief administrator Helga Reidel said the 178 full-time equivalent positions cut so far equate to about 230 actual workers.

Council will be urged at a special meeting on Monday to add to that number, by accepting a recommendation by administration to outsource 14 positions in parking enforcement to the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires for an estimated savings of $2.28 million over five years.

One Comment

  1. We Are Change Windsor We Are Change Windsor July 29, 2010

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