January 15, 2014


IN: House panel votes to block annuity privatization plan. State lawmakers took a first step Tuesday toward halting a plan to privatize the supplemental annuity payment available to retired state and local government employees, including teachers…. State Rep. Chuck Moseley, D-Portage, a member of the committee, said privatizing annuity sales would make it harder for retirees to know how much money they’d have to live on.   nwitimes.com

MI: Union says untrained Aramark workers threaten Michigan prison security. An employee of contractor Aramark Correctional Services has been caught having sex with an inmate and prisoners who work in kitchens are getting easier access to knives, less than six weeks after state employees were laid off and prison food services were privatized, the head of the union representing corrections officers says in a letter to the department director. Detroit Free Press

GA: Foster fix pace criticized. A plan to put private organizations in charge of Georgia’s approximately 7,000 foster children is moving too fast for some child advocates who want more study before overhauling the system….Melissa Carter, director of the Barton Child Law and Policy Center at Emory University’s School of Law, said the waiver will give the state more flexibility on how it spends foster care dollars, but privatization isn’t the only way to make changes. “There is not consensus from anyone who would be impacted in Georgia’s child welfare system that this is the right strategy to pursue,” she said. “The pace makes everyone anxious.”  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

NY: NYC’s charter clash is in session. High test scores fueled their rise, but the Bloomberg administration’s move to hand them classrooms, libraries and cafeterias that had belonged to district schools pitted parent against parent. Now the once-mighty charters have fallen sharply out of favor. Mayor de Blasio, siding with the critics who charge the charters’ success came at the expense of public schools, has vowed to charge them rent, threatening their ability to survive. But charter schools won’t go down without a fight.  Daily News

CA: Newport Beach May Privatize $100000 Lifeguards. “The escalating cost of pensions, especially public-safety pensions — of which lifeguards are part — is putting more pressure on cities,” Coleman said by telephone. “If this continues, we’re going to see more and more cities outsourcing these functions.” Bloomberg

TSA warned: Shape up or ship out. Members of a House panel threatened Tuesday to privatize more airport screening unless the Transportation Security Administration improves its treatment of travelers. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., said he plans legislation “one way or the other” to privatize all federal screeners within two years. He would leave TSA in charge of gathering intelligence, setting standards and running audits. “If you come to Orlando airport or Sanford airport, what is going on is almost criminal to American citizens, the way they are treated,” said Mica, head of the Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on government operations, which held a hearing on private screeners. “This is the mess we’ve created.”