League of Women Education Fund Board of Trustees
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Peggy Hawkins Hill
Susan Morris Wilson
Staff Members Present:
Nancy Tate, Zaida Arguedas
MacNamara called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.
The Board reviewed the questions for the Privatization Study.
McMillen moved that the consensus questions for the Privatization Study be approved as amended (see attached). Seconded. Passed.
MacNamara adjourned the meeting at 5:35 PM
Susan Morris Wilson
Privatization Study Questions
Final per Board 10/2/11
(JLM minor corrections made 10/21)
Setting the stage
The discussion leader may consider starting the discussion with these questions.
- · What is privatization?
- · What efforts are prominent in your local community, in your state and on the federal level?
- · What are the advantages and disadvantages of privatizing government services, functions and assets?
Leader’s Guide (this will be a separate document)
Federal, state and local governments own extensive assets and are a major employer. Governments often consider selling assets, and outsourcing some functions and services to the private sector. The consequences of “privatizing” a government service or function, in particular, may enhance the function or service. Alternatively, it may reduce or alter functions and services. Government revenues may be reduced or lost and jobs may be cut. In some instances, this may have a detrimental effect on the “common good”.
One state, for instance, has declared as a matter of state law and policy that “using private contractors to provide public services formerly provided by state employees does not always promote the public interest. To ensure that citizens…… receive high quality public services at low cost, with due regard for tax payers…… and the needs of public and private workers, the (legislature) finds it necessary to regulate such privatization contracts throughout the state.”
The purpose of this study is to identify policies and parameters that should be considered when any governmental entity is planning to undertake some type of privatization process.
Privatization of government assets, services and functions has been occurring for decades at all levels of government. Some believe that due to the efficiencies of the private sector, privatizing can save tax dollars and provide the same or equal quality of services. Others are concerned that certain government services and functions should never be provided by the private sector because of their inherent nature, and that infusing the profit motive into services previously provided by the government may be inconsistent with the public good.
Consensus question one and two should be presented to the group at the outset of the meeting and then repeated after the other questions have been answered.
1. As a general matter, is the extent to which government functions, services and assets have been privatized in the past decade:
__ Much too much __ Too much __ About right __ Too little __ Much too little __ No consensus
2. Should core government services and functions important to well-being of the people remain with government and not be transferred to the private sector?
___Strongly agree ___ Agree ___ Disagree ___Strongly disagree ____No consensus
3. As a matter of good government policy, which of the following criteria should be applied when making decisions to transfer public services, assets and functions to the private sector?
For each item below, select : ___High priority ___ Lower priority ___Not a priority __ No consensus
a. Transparency and Accountability: All government contracts with private companies for services must ensure public access to relevant records and information regarding contracted services and provide for adequate government oversight and control.
b. Public Well-being: Provisions are in place to assure that, in the event any public services are to be privatized, there will be no increased risks to public well-being, especially to vulnerable populations.
c. Cost and Quality: Privatized services do not noticeably increase the costs or decrease the quality of services to the public.
d. Environmental and Natural Resources: Defined parameters are in place to assure that environmental and natural resources are not compromised.
e. Contracts and Sales of Public Assets: All government contracts and privatized public assets are subject to competitive bidding and comply with all laws regarding awarding contracts.
f. Economic Impact: Privatizations does not result in a negative economic impact on communities in which the services are provided.
g . Government Recovery of Services and Assets: Provisions are in place to recover key services, assets and functions should the private sector fail to provide or care for them
4. When is privatization not appropriate?
For each item below, select: __Yes __No __ No Consensus
a. When the government lacks the will, ability or resources to adequately oversee contracts with the private entity and any successor there to.
b. When there is no private entity able or willing to provide the service for the short and long term.
c. When it poses a potential threat to national security.
d. When it poses a risk to personal or security data.
e. When there is evidence of, or potential for, corruption.
f. When the private entity’s goals and purposes are not compatible with public well-being.
g. When the private entity will not comply with existing government requirements for public records, open meetings or publication of reports and audits.
h. When there is a loss of revenue used by the government to support mandated or critical services.
5. Some states have developed laws and regulations to control the process of privatization within its jurisdiction.
As a general matter, should privatization be regulated?
a. Yes, all privatization efforts should be regulated.
b. Yes, some types of privatization efforts should be regulated.
c. No, privatization efforts should never be regulated
d. No consensus
6. Which of the following should be included in the regulatory process when privatizing public assets, services and functions?
For each item below, select: __Strongly agree __Agree __Disagree __Strongly disagree __No consensus
a. Timely public announcements regarding intentions to privatize and the expected benefits to the public.
b. Public and stakeholder input into the decision and terms of the contract.
c. Clear and measurable outcomes regarding expected benefits to the public for proposed sales and divestitures.
d. Feasibility study regarding performance, costs and benefits.
e. Adherence to all laws regarding public contracts..
f. Transition plans for displaced employees.
g. Accountability and transparency provisions in all contracts.
h. Regular performance evaluations including meaningful opportunity for public comment.
i. Provisions for transferring services and assets back to the government or another contractor in the event of inadequate performance.
j. Adequate resources for enforcement.