October 4, 2012


IN: Indiana panel approves lottery outsourcing deal

The commission voted 3-0, with two members absent, to approve a 15-year contract with Rhode Island-based GTECH that is expected to make $1.7 billion in profit over five years — a $500 million increase over state projections. GTECH already provides and maintains vending machines for the Hoosier Lottery. In exchange for running the lottery’s marketing and other services, GTECH will be paid a management fee that hasn’t yet been determined as well as a share of the lottery profits. The state received $188 million in lottery proceeds last year….Illinois Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones criticized Indiana’s search for a private lottery manager in August, saying Indiana officials didn’t seem to have learned from Illinois’ problem-plagued lottery outsourcing effort. New Jersey and Pennsylvania also are researching whether to outsource their lotteries. Businessweek

MI: Detroit Workers Fight Back Against ‘Union Busting,’ Privatization Plans

The battle over the privatization of public water services is playing out in Detroit, as water department workers now risk losing their jobs as they continue a strike over what they see as a “union busting and privatizing” plan by the city. Wastewater workers in the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) who are members of AFSCME Local 207 began their strike on Sunday, in violation of a state law that prohibits strikes by public employees, over the city’s plan to sign five-year, $17 million contract with private corporation EMA Inc. which would eliminate over 80% of DWSD jobs.  Common Dreams   Video here Truthout

NJ: Democrats Struggling to Push Ahead With Privatization Bill

Among other things, the legislation would require public agencies get a fiscal analysis before they contract for more than $250,000 with a private vendor to take over services. Subsequent performance would be subject to a state audit, which could lead to penalties or even loss of the contract for failing to produce promised savings. The bill also would require that private vendors pay “comparable wages” to public employees and give hiring priority to those laid off because of the privatization. A hearing on the measure before the Senate Labor Committee earlier this week quickly broke along partisan and ideological lines. …Several speakers mentioned the pending Lottery privatization, pointing out that the governor is not promoting it on the basis of potential savings, but increasing revenues. “Our members could perform the duties that this private company will go out and do, however they’ve been shackled” by departmental regulations, said Bob Purcell, a representative of the CWA local representing some state workers. He and other speakers identified GTEC, the company that provides lottery machines, as the frontrunner for the new contract. While it has U.S. headquarters in Rhode Island, it is a subsidiary of the Lottomatica Group of Italy. “It seems to be ironic that last year a bill went into place to require state workers who live in Pennsylvania and New York to move into New Jersey to keep their jobs . . . but the profits from that contract will go to a foreign country.”  NJSpotlight

TX: State rejects bid to privatize psychiatric hospital

The Department of State Health Services has rejected a bid by Geo Care to privatize Kerrville State Hospital. Last year, legislators told State Health Services it had to solicit proposals from mental health providers that wanted to run one of the state-run psychiatric hospitals. Those proposals had to show that the bidder could run the hospital for 10 percent less then its current budget. Boca Raton-based Geo Care was the only company to submit a proposal. Its bid was to run Kerrville State Hospital.

But the state has rejected Geo Care’s bid. Geo Care is a private company that runs mental health hospitals and prisons across the county. Its proposal alarmed mental health advocates because Geo has come under fire for its care of both patients and prisoners. The protests grew louder this year when the American-Statesman reported that State Health Services had fined Geo Care more than $107,000 for violations in a psychiatric hospital that the company runs for Montgomery County. Austin American-Statesman

IN: IU Employees Fear Losing Jobs Over Privatized Parking

Some unionized workers at Indiana University say they are worried about losing their jobs if the school decides to privatize its parking operations. In a short period of time, Indiana University officials could issue a request for proposals which would seek a trade: a private firm gives a large lump sum of money to the school in exchange for running IU’s parking operations for years to come… But that worries Communication Workers of America Local 4730 President Ed Vasquez. “The burden is that once you start doing all these privatizations I think there will be an impetus to start privatizing other services throughout the campus,” he says. “This provides a lot of anxiety for a lot of staff.”  Indiana Public Media

VA: Virginia port officials to hold public hearing on privatization proposals

Virginia Port Authority officials are holding a public hearing on proposals to privatize some of the Port of Virginia’s operations. The hearing is scheduled from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at Nauticus in Norfolk. Three private entities and the port’s current operator, Virginia International Terminals Inc., have submitted proposals to the state. The Republic

Tim Hogan: Privatization of our public lands

Having just returned from a splendid autumn backpack in the Hunter Fryingpan Wilderness in Colorado, I was particularly discomfited by the recent article on privatization of our public lands (Feds push for privatization of U.S. forest campgrounds, Sept. 28).  While claims of American exceptionalism are often over-blown during an election, it is fair to say our public lands in western North America are an exceptional legacy of our cultural heritage. For some of us, the shameless rush to cash in on their bounty is reminiscent of the money changers in the temples. Daily Camera