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public policy public policy

The The Perils Perils of of Privatization Privatization

By Ardis Watkins, SEANC Legislative Affairs Director By Ardis Watkins, SEANC Legislative Affairs Director In December 2010, Gov. Bev Perdue proposed Most importantly having state employees provide IT In December 2010, Gov. Bev Perdue proposed Most importantly having employees IT privatizing Information Technology Services (ITS) services also prevents the state disastrous resultsprovide that have privatizing Information Technology (ITS) services also prevents thewhere disastrous results has that been have for North Carolina. The proposal was ofServices great concern happened in other states IT services forSEANC North Carolina. The proposal wasprivatizing of great concern happened in states companies. where IT services has been to as research shows that these contracted outother to private For example in to SEANC as research shows that privatizing contracted out experienced to private companies. For example in services in other states has proven to be costlythese and 2010, Virginia a loss of online services services in other of states has proven toinformation. be costly and 2010, Virginia experienced a loss online shutting services risks the security citizens’ personal in 26 state agencies for more thanofa week, risks security ofbudget citizens’proposal, personal information. in 26 state agenciestoforprovide more than a week, shutting In thethegovernor’s however, she down the ability public services for In the governor’s budget she down the Inability provide publicrenew services for proposes consolidating ITSproposal, under thehowever, Department taxpayers. Texas tocitizens couldn’t vehicle proposes consolidating ITS under theHer Department taxpayers. InorTexas citizens couldn’t renew of vehicle of Management and Administration. proposal registrations driver’s licenses for a period time of Management and Administration. Her proposal registrations driver’s licenses for a period time suggests that streamlining ITS functions will due to privateorvendor failures in delivering theofterms suggests completion that streamlining ITSbyfunctions will duethetocontract. private vendor failures in delivering the terms facilitate of projects deadline and of facilitate completion of projects by deadline and of the contract. within budget. Rumors of layoffs and reduction-in-force within budget. Rumors layoffs If the governor recognizes that these agency measures in theofwestern part and of the reduction-in-force state may indicate If the governor recognizes that the these agency measures the western partthe of same the state may consolidations will allow the state ability to that NorthinCarolina is on path to indicate failure. consolidations will allow quality the state the within abilitythe to that North Carolina is are on the same path have to failure. continue providing in-house services SEANC members who IT employees been continue budget, providing in-house quality services within the SEANC on members whoduring are ITlunch employees havethese been specified why is she considering privatization? meeting Mondays to discuss specified budget, why is she considering privatization? meeting Mondaysa during to legislators discuss these issues andonformulate plan to lunch educate on issues and formulate plan to educate legislators on the importance of IT aservices in government. They the importance IT services in government. They have also been of attending Monday night lobbying State employees can and do provide the have also been attending Monday night lobbying sessions at the General Assembly in order to connect State employees can and do provide the quality public services needed at a lower sessions at the General Assembly in order to connect with lawmakers. quality public needed at a lower bottom-line costservices than private vendors. More with lawmakers. This is not the first time SEANC has had to fight bottom-line cost thanemployees private vendors. More importantly, state will more is not the first has had fight backThis privatization in time state SEANC government. In to2009, importantly, statemeasures employees will more likely take proper to ensure the back privatization state maintenance government. across In 2009, chatter of privatizinginprison the likely take of proper to ensure the security Northmeasures Carolina taxpayers. chatter of quickly privatizing prison maintenance state was squelched by SEANC across efforts.the It security of North Carolina taxpayers. state was quickly squelched would by SEANC efforts. is interesting that lawmakers ever have suchIt interesting lawmakersoutwould ever have ais notion afterthat contracting operations for such two Think about it: a private company is in business a notioninafter outresulted operations for state two prisons 1996,contracting which then in the Thinkmoney. about it: a private is in business to make There is nocompany other purpose. If that prisonsback in 1996, which resultedin in2000 the after state taking control over then operations to make money. There is noitother that company has shareholders, will purpose. work to Ifmake taking back control over operations in 2000 after poor management. companyprofit has to shareholders, it will work happy. to make enough keep those shareholders If poor Inmanagement. this session, the move to privatize prison enough profit istoprivately-owned, keep those shareholders If that company it is still happy. going to session, the in move to privatize prison maintenance was passed the House April 14. In this session, House Bill 335, aonproposal to thatpreoccupied company iswith privately-owned, it is still going to be making a profit. maintenance was passed House on April 14. House Billdoor 335, a proposal tothe open the door to prison open the to prison in maintenance privatization, be preoccupied with do making profit. State employees their ajobs in the most costHouse Bill 335, proposal towas open thetodoor to prison maintenance privatization, amended by Rep. was amended bya Rep. Nelson Dollar study the isState employees do manner their jobs in the most costeffective and efficient possible. The state maintenance by Rep. Nelson Dollar to study issue rather than take sue rather thanprivatization, take these the 450was jobsamended from hardworking effectivehas andbeen efficient possible. The state state budget tight manner for years and every Nelson to study the issuestate rather than take these 450Dollar jobs from hardworking employees. state employees. budget hashasbeen for years and more every work state employee hadtight to adapt to doing these 450 job jobsloss from stateimportance employees.to While is hardworking always of utmost employee had to But adapt to doing more with fewer has resources. IT professionals in work state Whilemore job loss is always of utmost importance to SEANC, money in corporate pockets while the with fewer resources. professionals state government have had But to doITmore with lessinwhile SEANC,security more money in corporate pockets while the public’s and tax dollars are compromised government havethe hadsecurity to do standards more withthat lessprotect while also maintaining public’s and tax dollars are as compromised is what security should concern all of us taxpayers. also maintaining thesuffering security standards thatthrough protect fellow citizens from identity theft is whatvendors should are concern all of tousprovide as taxpayers. Private in business returns fellow citizens from suffering identity theft releases of personal information such asthrough social Private vendors areinvestments. in business toDedicated provide returns on stockholder’s state releases numbers of personal information such as social security or driver’s license information. on stockholder’s investments. Dedicated employees are in it to provide quality services state and securityhardworking numbers orstate driver’s license information. Those IT employees also often employees in itCarolina to provide quality services and security for are North citizens…and that’s our Thosecritical hardworking IT employees have missionsstate to protect services also that often help securityline. for North Carolina citizens…and that’s our bottom have critical missions to protect services that help maintain homeland security. bottom line. awatkins@seanc.org maintain homeland security. awatkins@seanc.org

Can We Come For a Visit? Can We Come For a Visit? Would your work site or agency benefit from having a special update and Would yourabout work what’s site or agency benefit having a specialDo update and discussion going on in thefrom General Assembly? you need discussion aboutand what’s on about in thespecial General Assembly? you need someone to come speakgoing with staff SEANC projects Do or initiatives? someone to come and with staffinformation about special SEANC projects or initiatives? Are your co-workers in speak need of more about insurance, retiree benefits Are your co-workers in need of more information about insurance, retiree and scholarship programs? Contact SEANC today to invite a memberbenefits action and scholarship programs? Contact SEANC today to invite a member action coordinator to visit. coordinator to visit. You can arrange for this by reaching out to You canLynn arrange by reaching or outlcote@seanc.org. to 800-222-2758 Member Action Director Cotefor at this Member Action Director Lynn Cote at 800-222-2758 or lcote@seanc.org.

THE REPORTER MAY 2011 THE REPORTER MAY 2011

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May 2011 Reporter