March 20, 2014


CO: UCCS study says outsourcing city and state jobs is not a good move. . . The center’s researchers identified the social and economic impact of outsourcing public services, which they say, includes reduced accountability and transparency as control of key public decisions is removed from citizens and their elected officials. Quality also often suffers, the report says. “There is a wealth of evidence that outsourcing public jobs often diminishes quality without substantial cost reduction. Unfortunately, few states and cities have a serious oversight process to let citizens evaluate what is happening,” said Daphne Greenwood, professor, Department of Economics, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and center director.  Colorado Springs Gazette (blog)

CA: Private education overseer is failing public, state audit says. State regulators are failing to protect the public from potentially fraudulent and unqualified nonprofit and for-profit private educators, amassing a backlog of hundreds of licensing applications, inspections and complaints, according to an audit released Tuesday. The Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education has “consistently failed to meet its responsibility to protect the public’s interest” and “failed to appropriately respond to complaints against institutions, even when students’ safety was allegedly at risk,” state Auditor Elaine M. Howle wrote.  Los Angeles Times

CA: California Busts Red Light Camera Companies Over Wage Laws. The two largest providers of red light camera systems in the country have been caught flouting labor laws. The California Department of Industrial Relations has taken action against American Traffic Systems (ATS) of Arizona and Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia for failing to pay contractors prevailing wage rates, despite a contractual obligation to do so. ATS was caught violating the rules in South San Francisco in 2012. Six years earlier, the city signed a contract with ATS to install, operate and maintain the devices in return for keeping $5000 per month from the ticket revenue at each intersection approach.

MI: Michigan urged to reject $145M prison food contract over safety concerns. Two state employee unions and a Republican senator on Wednesday urged the Civil Service Commission to reject a $145-million prison food service contract with Aramark Correctional Services, saying the company’s performance since December is endangering prison safety. “These are things that are dangerous in a prison,” said Michigan Corrections Organization executive director Mel Grieshaber, after commissioners heard about Aramark workers exchanging love notes with prisoners and smuggling in prohibited cell phones. The Michigan Department of Corrections, which has already fined Aramark $98,000 for violating the three-year contract with frequent menu item substitutions and for hiring employees who get overly familiar with prisoners, acknowledged problems but said it plans to stay the course — at least for the time being.  Detroit Free Press

IN: Editorial: Lawmaker’s conflicts tarnish entire Indiana House. If it’s true that Rep. P. Eric Turner privately lobbied to kill a bill that would have hurt his son’s business, the Hamilton County Republican should be ashamed. But the shame should extend beyond the House speaker pro tem. The entire General Assembly – particularly its GOP super-majority – is tarnished by the clear appearance of backroom dealing and compromised ethics. The Associated Press reports that Turner lobbied to kill Senate Bill 173, a moratorium on new nursing home beds. Turner’s son is chairman and CEO of Mainstreet Property Group, a Carmel-based developer of upscale nursing homes. His daughter, Jessaca Turner Stults, lobbies for the company, which the legislator co-founded.  Fort Wayne Journal Gazette