Watching the House: Dogging the Privatization of State Services

H 5307, sponsored by Representatives Dennigan, Crowley, Rose, Naughton, and Church seeks to create more oversight when it comes to state spending on non-state employee services.

(a) All state expenditures by any state department for non-state employee contracts, legal services, consultant fees, business services, fees paid to temporary workers or individuals who are not employees of the state of Rhode Island shall submit to the budget office and finance committees of the house and senate a report containing the following information:
(1) Efforts made to identify qualified individuals or services within state government;
(2) Outline the rationale for not using state employees or services;
(3) Factors used in choosing a non-state employee or firm; and
(4) Results of requests for proposals for services or bids for services.
(b) The reports shall be in writing and available electronically to the budget office and the house finance and senate finance committees within one month of the expenditure.

And H 5315, proposed by Representatives Lima, Coderre, Slater, San Bento, and Wasylyk seeks to do the same for private companies who are bidding to perform previously state-run services. In a nutshell:

Prior to the closure, consolidation or privatization of any state facility, function or property, the director of administration or his or her designee, shall conduct a thorough cost comparison analysis and evaluate quality performance concerns before deciding to purchase services from private vendors rather than provide services directly.

These look like responsible, good-government proposals…but, since it is Rhode Island, one can’t help but think they really are Part (A) and (B) of an unofficial “State Employee Job Protection Act of 2007.” Or am I just way too cynical?

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john
john
14 years ago

You’re not cynical at all. These bills are designed to make it far more difficult for state government to use non-government employees to perform services. Unfortuntely, nobody would ever answer La Dennigan’s questions honestly:
(1) Efforts made to identify qualified individuals or services within state government; — We tried, but they threatened to file a union grievance if we asked them to work hard or change their current work rules to deliver what the customers of state government really need;
(2) Outline the rationale for not using state employees or services; — private sector suppliers are more effective and efficient, due to their incentives — for example, why did the General Assembly hire Sandra Whitehouse rather than ask for someone from DEM to be seconded to carry out the studies they asked her to perform?
(3) Factors used in choosing a non-state employee or firm; — oh, I don’t know, maybe some radical concepts like previous experience addressing similar issues, qualifications, skills, willingness to deliver within a certain time frame and to a certain quality standard, even if doing so means you have to pay people a lot of money and fire the ones who don’t produce;
and
(4) Results of requests for proposals for services or bids for service; — sadly lacking, because anybody who can generate business elsewhere would gladly take it instead of doing business with a corrupt, insane bunch like the knuckleheads who are too often found throughout RI state government and who dominate the General Assembly.
When I read this bill, I have only one question: Where is Charlene as a co-sponsor? I thought all bills that are completely insane required her presence…

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

“When I read this bill, I have only one question: Where is Charlene as a co-sponsor? I thought all bills that are completely insane required her presence…”
Excellent …

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