May 21, 2013


PA: Pennsylvania township scammed in streetlight deal. The consulting company Municipal Energy Managers, of Lackawanna County, Penn., took $165,488 in payment from the city of Richland, Penn., but never rendered the services promised, according to local police. In February 2009, Richland officials paid the sum up front to Municipal Energy Managers. The company was to facilitate the transfer of ownership of 160 streetlights from PPL, an electric and utility holding company, to the township. Municipal Energy would then be tasked with maintaining the lights as well as install energy-saving equipment on them according to local newspaper, The Intelligencer. However, no progress was ever made. Municipal Energy’s owners, Patrick Joseph McLaine, 66, and Robert J. Kearns, 49, never contacted PPL to begin the transfer. “They took $160,000 and essentially did nothing,” Richland police sergeant Mike Kisthardt told The Intelligencer. American City and County

PA: PA Senate Democrat frowns on linking transportation with liquor privatization. Attempts to link the needed repair of Pennsylvania roads and bridges to Gov. Tom Corbett’s privatization of the state’s liquor system is a distortion of important legislative priorities, state Sen. Minority Leader Jay Costa said Monday. Speaking at a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon at the Harrisburg Hilton, Costa, D-Allegheny, said House Republicans want to bind the fate of needed transportation funding – popular in the senate – to the liquor privatization effort the House backed earlier this year.

PA: Lottery privatization pursuit continues. Despite a trajectory that shows Pennsylvania Lottery profits on course to break the past year’s record-breaking performance, Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration has not abandoned its effort to privatize the lottery’s management. Patriot-News

NJ: Bill creating new standards for privatization contracts passes NJ Assembly. A bill imposing new requirements on privatization contracts is heading to Governor Christie’s desk after passing its final legislative hurdle today. The bill would outlaw new contracts that rely on increasing fees or cutting services to save money. It would require the state to demonstrate any savings came from increased efficiency or other improvements that would not diminish services.

MA: Audit: Mass. nonprofit overcharged state. A nonprofit organization that contracts with Massachusetts to provide services to residents with autism and other developmental disabilities should repay nearly $350,000 in state funds that it used improperly to pay staff, Auditor Suzanne Bump said Monday. The amount included more than $138,000 to the May Institute’s president and chief executive officer, and nearly $211,000 for wages to 10 management staff during the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years, according to the audit.

CA: California May Create a Two-Tiered Community College System. Jonathan Lightman, executive director of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges, contends the fees are equivalent to privatizing public education. “It’s an unequivocal threat to the idea of fairness and academic democracy that the community college system has held since its inception.” Opponents say the bill establishes a fast-track system that gives an extra advantage to those with money. It makes “access to core classes dependent on students’ capacity to pay.” Yahoo! News

WI: Legislators To Decide Reach Of School Voucher Programs  – Audio. Legislators may soon decide the fate of Governor Scott Walker’s controversial plan to expand taxpayer-funded school vouchers. The expansion has been a divisive issue, especially in the communities that would be directly impacted…. But Steve McNeal, superintendent of the Beloit Public School District, has a much different take on the proposed expansion. “The only thing that the voucher program has done is lined the pockets of many people that are into the privatization of education. It’s increased taxes in local municipalities. It has really kind of been a deterioration of public funds towards public schools.” Wisconsin Public Radio News

The Next Stop in Public Transportation. Riders of public transportation are used to ads by now. Indeed, if you’re a regular bus or subway user, chances are pretty good you’ll see an advertisement at your stop, on the exterior of your vehicle and once again on its interior — all before even grabbing a seat. Sometimes, it may seem like the only way to escape it all is by closing your eyes. But in some places, that might not even be enough anymore because the latest trend in transit advertising is audio commercials. Transit Advertising