Wednesday, December 4, 2013

26 outsourcing horror stories

Want higher costs, shoddier service and abused citizens? Just outsource your government services to the private sector.

In the Public Interest, an offshoot of AFSCME, just published a report that provides 26 examples of privatization horror stories.  Gawker picked up on some of them:
  • Los Angeles County continually renewed its $3 million year contract with a firm called Wings of Refuge to place foster children, despite numerous reports of kids going to abusive homes where they were beaten and locked away for days on end.
  • Indiana hired IBM to run its food stamp and Medicaid programs, then bungled it and dumped thousands of residents from the rolls—including an elderly nun who was denied food stamps because she missed a recertification interview while hospitalized for cancer.
  • School-cafeteria workers in New Jersey saw their hourly wages cut by $4 to $6 an hour after their jobs were privatized. "[W]e use our personal sick days just to get paid so we can pay rent for the next month," one told investigators.
  • Two-thirds of Florida's privatized prisons failed to meet the legal requirement to run at least 7 percent more cheaply than state-run jails. Half of the private jails were actually more expensive to run. But the state never set up a mechanism for punishing them.
  • 65 percent of private prisons require the states and cities they work with to meet inmate quotas, forcing governments to find inmates to keep the jails up to a profitable capacity.
  • Northwest Missouri State University forked over tons of taxpayer cash to contract out most of its food, vending, and bookstore services. Rather than open up the contract to bidders, it took contractors at higher rates who were willing to donate to the university's athletic stadium fund.
Read the rest here.