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View Diary: Lifeguards hired as public employees, Private Contractor fired. (66 comments)

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  •  Well (0+ / 0-)

    I mean wages are wages. It's hard to argue they are 'underpaid', maybe the town was 'overpaying' them. If crossing guards weren't doing that, what would they be doing? Probably working retail, right? And what does that pay? It's not like they are lifeguards with specialized training.

    But yeah the other things you mention are absolutely problems with outsourcing (not as a rule, but apparently in your specific case). That's why you need to run the numbers and require that the contractor meet whatever training requirements the state has already.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 09:19:58 AM PDT

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    •  NO race to the bottom. (7+ / 0-)

      If the crossing guards weren't doing that, what would they be doing?  Going hungry and sleeping under bridges?   Working at Wal-Mart and collecting food stamps & Medicaid?  So does that make it right to underpay them?  

      Bottom line:  "race to the bottom" is immoral.  You can argue the economics until the cows come, but it's immoral to pay workers of any kind less than a living wage, and it's immoral to use someone else's bad behavior as a justification for one's own.

      "Minus two votes for the Republican" equals "plus one vote for the Democrat." Arithmetic doesn't care about their feelings either!

      by G2geek on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 10:10:18 AM PDT

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    •  Take the mercenaries in Iraq (4+ / 0-)

      We were paying companies like Blackwater to provide basic services that used to be done by well-trained soldiers and marines. The mercenaries (yeah, yeah, the politically correct term is "contractors") the mercenaries were being paid thirty TIMES what a serviceman would have been paid to do the same job. I don't care if every last mother's son of them is Rambo's bigger badder second cousin, there is no way one mercenary is more capable than 30 marines.

      But it's the magic of the marketplace. Any time you say "marketplace" everything costs less.

      And by the way, the idea that we somehow "needed" mercenaries to do "dangerous" and "Important" jobs kind of undercuts that whole "respect and honor the troops" mantra of the right, doesn't it? I mean we are supposed to have the best soldiers in the world (we're frikking PAYING enough for them). So why aren't they good enough in the eyes of the radical right? And where did all these mercenaries LEARN their jobs? Oh, right, in the frikkin military that isn't good enough to do the jobs the mercs were hired to do.

      If not for double standards, the right-wing would have no standards at all.

    •   "require the contractor meet" is simply not (2+ / 0-)

      enough. What's on paper in the contract is easily sloughed off once the contract's in full force. Most of these companies know that unless something very egregious and highly public happens, they can cut corners and more for the length of the their contract, because the local government folks don't want to have to go through the major hassle of getting rid of them and finding someone new.
      So even with people in the local government supposedly overseeing, contractors have lots of maneuvering room.
      An example: some portion of the bus drivers and buses for our county public transportation system are through a contractor. A woman with a helper dog trained to recognize when she was about to have a seizure kept being prevented from boarding the buses, despite the fact that the dog wore a special jacket and the woman had permission to board (and she rode the subways in D.C. with no problem). The bus drivers who were county employees were no problem, but the ones hired through a contractor kept stopping this woman even though the contractor was told a number of times that this dog was permitted to ride county buses. My guess is that the contractor just didn't bother to notify the drivers. This wasn't corrected until there was a big article on it.

      We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

      by Tamar on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 12:42:19 PM PDT

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      •  Re (0+ / 0-)
        Most of these companies know that unless something very egregious and highly public happens, they can cut corners and more for the length of the their contract, because the local government folks don't want to have to go through the major hassle of getting rid of them and finding someone new.
        First of all, public employees have their share of malfeasance as well. They aren't inherently 'better' than private contractors, and other issues apply as we'll (very hard to fire public unionized employees... easy for the contractor to do!). This isn't a slam at public employees: it's just that anecdotal data is anecdotal. I can also point to blogs full of people like police committing what should be fireable offenses but are never fired.

        Secondly, what you are describing is a contract written by morons. Well-written contracts say "we have the right to withhold $X in payment for finding violation Y... and we can audit whenever we feel like it". You don't just write open-ended contracts for whatever with no enforcement mechanism. Good contracts give incentives for good service.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 01:54:43 PM PDT

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