Morning Must Reads: It Pays to Be a Privatizer

The Associated Press reports this morning that Gov. Tom Corbett just hired the investment banking firm that employs former Gov. Ed Rendell to assist the current Governor's privatization council. The firm will receive $150,000 for the first three months plus undetermined payments beyond that.

Too bad we missed the competitive RFP and didn't get a chance to offer the state a better deal. This $150,000 adds to the $275,000 that Public Finance Management told the state House Liquor Control Committee last Thursday it will receive for its study of wine and spirits store privatization. Anyone keeping a running tab?

While privatization consultants rake in hundreds of thousands, The New York Times this morning reports that the war on public-sector workers in states like Wisconsin and Ohio has helped generate a wave of retirements that threatens the quality and effectiveness of public services. Let's see, disable state and local government, privatize more services. Anyone seeing a pattern here?

But some experts and workers question the ultimate result of so much leaving, saying it is already leaving some governments short-staffed (and, in some cases, obliged to pay overtime) and at risk of losing institutional knowledge and technical expertise as older workers vanish.

'What we’re going to see is a lot of young people reinventing the wheel,' said Karen Gunderson, 56, who retired this year from her information technology job with the State of Wisconsin after 26 years, a few years sooner than she had intended, saying she felt that public workers were being 'turned into scapegoats' for a troubled economy.

'We’re going to waste a lot of tax dollars with young people attempting things that were tried before. You can get people cheaper, but whether you save money, I don’t know.'

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