This privatization BS is going on all over the Country - in small towns and countys as well as with state governments. Demonstrating again why elections and voting do matter….
Now, another revolution could be fomenting as Frederick County considers a radical change to the way it does government business: It is debating whether to outsource many of its public services to private business, road maintenance and parks and recreation programs, budgeting in the finance department and Central Booking at the jail. Should that happen, the county of 233,000 residents would become the largest U.S. jurisdiction to privatize what have traditionally been services provided by public employees.
The proposal, launched by an all-Republican Board of County Commissioners that after last year’s elections took on a more conservative, smaller-government cast, has created an uproar. More than 500 county residents and employees descended on Winchester Hall in Frederick, the seat of the county government, for a public hearing on the proposal last week — the first of several scheduled for this month — with most opposing it, and vocally so.
“I think a lot of people wanted to make a point,” Mike Ramsburg, a county employee for 26 of his 47 years, said after speaking at the often raucous hearing. “[County Commission Chairman] Blaine Young often says that since he received so many votes, he had a mandate. But we didn’t vote for them to dismantle Frederick County government.”
Porter said a big part of the savings comes from unloading the cost of health insurance and pensions for the employees whose jobs are taken over by a contractor. “That’s what’s sinking so many governments, they’re saddled with long-term benefits,” he said.
But Mildred E. Warner, a Cornell University professor who has researched government privatization, said she and two colleagues analyzed every published econometric study of water distribution and solid waste collection — the two most commonly privatized local services — and found no cost savings.
Warner, a professor of city and regional planning, said local jurisdictions are continually experimenting with outsourcing, letting out new contracts even as they decided to pull other work back in. “Sometimes, you need that guy down the hall,” she said.
Warner said surveys by the International City County Management Association show that the amount of work that is outsourced is continually in flux, with local governments trying out a company and either shifting the work to another contractor or returning the task to in-house staff. Cities and counties most often cite problems with the quality of service and unrealized cost savings as their reasons for deciding to end the outside contract, she said.
“There was this notion that private providers could do it for less,” Warner said. “What [government officials] discovered was there weren’t the savings expected.”