January 23, 2014


Groups urge Congress to reject poultry inspection outsourcing plan. The American Federation of Government Employees has joined with food and worker safety groups in calling on Congress to reject a budget proposal from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to implement a new poultry inspection system during fiscal year 2014. AFGE and the other groups also are urging Congress to restore the $11.73 million budget cut that would eliminate FSIS inspector positions.  High Plains Journal

IN: Proposal would expand public-private partnerships. Private firms may soon be able to build, abolish, or repair state facilities – and also operate them. Current law allows private firms to partner with the state to build or operate highways, rail lines, or bridges. The projects could involve the private firm giving the state an upfront sum in exchange for future toll revenue. Or they could make other financial arrangements that give the private companies a profit. Under Senate Bill 225, authored by Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, the facilities would not be limited to transportation. Firms could construct correctional, mental health, regional health and some communications facilities. Indianapolis Business Journal

NJ: NJ toll collectors to hold fundraiser to fight plans to privatize. Toll collectors in New Jersey are asking for money to keep their jobs. Members of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Union Local 194 will hold a fundraiser in Trenton today. The local is collecting cash to fight against proposals to privatize toll collections and increase automation of toll collections on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway.  NJ.com

CO: Privatizing the Boulder Turnpike – deal expected next week. While the controversy over the rapid privatization of Colorado public highways continues to escalate, a seemingly secretive fifty year contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars, known as the US 36 “Concession Agreement” is due to be signed next week without public input or legislative approval. Cherry Creek News

IL: Audio: Drawing The Line On Providing Local Services. Privatizing government services is a recurring topic in an era of tight budgets. From lottery systems to garbage pick-up, agencies have explored ways to save money. In some cases, turning over ownership of roadways has been discussed. That debate is happening in a northern Illinois community. Northern Public Radio WNIJ

NE: State auditor: Nebraska has 30 days to repay nearly $22 million after child welfare experiment blunders. Federal officials are demanding Nebraska repay nearly $22 million because of errors made during the state’s experiment with privatizing child welfare…. In the letters, the officials said Nebraska did not properly account for federal foster care dollars during the two fiscal years ending June 30, 2012…The issue dates back to the contracts that the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services signed with private child welfare agencies in November 2009.  Omaha World-Herald

FL: Tampa Commission to discuss outsourcing homeless services. Commissioners are considering a plan to outsource homeless housing – after problems with the county’s own program…. Today, commissioners will decide whether to sign a $1.1-million contract with Metropolitan Ministries. If approved, it will officially make that organization the county’s provider of emergency housing for homeless families and women.  Bay News

FL: Union decries Broward school facility outsourcing deal. The Broward school district has officially hired a private company to handle its construction-related projects, eight months after laying off more than half of its own workers… But the Broward Teachers Union, that represents the laid off employees, decried the decision, claiming the district was simply replacing workers at a much higher cost.  “The URS people are doing the exact same work of the laid off people,” said Steven Feldman, a BTU official. Sun-Sentinel (blog)