April 2, 2013


Traffic Cameras Draw More Scrutiny by States. Critics of photo enforcement often paint a picture of government overreach. Though drivers can appeal their tickets, some claim the cameras violate the constitutional right to face their accuser. Others say they are an invasion of privacy. Many contend that local governments — as well as the companies that manufacture and maintain the equipment, some in exchange for a percentage of the revenue rather than a flat fee — are more interested in money than in safety, pointing to studies indicating that the cameras may actually cause accidents. New York Times

OH: Cincinnati Parking Privatization Must Go to Vote. A Cincinnati plan to privatize parking to close a municipal budget gap must be put to a public referendum, an Ohio state court judge ruled, blocking the initiative. The proposal calls for the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority to take charge of street spaces for 30 years and those off street for 50 years, with the ability to subcontract their management. In exchange, the authority would pay Cincinnati $92 million now and an estimated $3 million annually for 30 years. Bloomberg

NC: Charlotte-region economic developers: Careful with privatizing NC Commerce. N.C. Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker’s recent talk of privatizing her department has Charlotte-region economic developers raising concerns. In his Monday Memo email, Ronnie Bryant, president and chief executive of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, hints that wholesale moves in the privatizing direction may be ill-advised.  Charlotte Business Journal

MI: Commission rejects union appeal, upholds privatization of nursing aid jobs. The Michigan Civil Service Commission has rejected union appeals and upheld the privatization of about 150 nursing aide jobs at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. At the hearing, veterans and state workers testified that more than 600 veterans who live at the home are endangered by low staffing levels and inadequate care under the contractor, J2S Group. The contract workers are paid about $10 an hour, roughly half what the state workers were paid, and J2S has had problems filling full-time positions and retaining employees, officials confirmed. Detroit Free Press

MI: Commission upholds privatization at veterans’ home. A state commission has rejected union appeals and upheld the privatization of about 150 nursing aide jobs at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans as part of a cost-cutting effort. The Michigan Civil Service Commission heard two appeals from Michigan AFSCME Council 25 last month in Lansing. According to information released Monday, the commission upheld the decision to privatize the jobs. San Francisco Chronicle           

PA: Corbett’s lottery privatization tab for consultants nears $3 million. Senior citizens may stand to pay a substantial cost in lost services if Gov. Tom Corbett’s effort to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery’s management goes nowhere. Already, the costs of the consultants hired to assist the Corbett administration in that endeavor exceed $2.85 million, said Elizabeth Brassell, a spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue, which oversees the lottery. PennLive.com

PA: Hearing planned on state liquor system privatization. The privatization of the state liquor store system will be the subject of a public hearing Tuesday. Scranton Times-Tribune           

NE:  After privatization, Bryan Health turns University Health Center into morgue. When University of Nebraska-Lincoln junior English major Mike Jones walked into the University Health Center Friday afternoon, he was met with a surprise. UHC, which recently came under the control of Bryan Health, had become a morgue. “I needed to go to the health center to see if I had mono,” Jones said. “But the lady at the front desk told me they’d only be able to serve me if mono eventually killed me.” The health center “revamp,” according to Bryan Health officials, was a cost-saving measure. Daily Nebraskan

How a contracting official scammed more than $30M. Until recently, Army Corps of Engineers program manager Kerry Khan had millions of dollars, mistresses in three states and a taste for high-end cars and liquor, according to court records.  Federal Times