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Remember when 18 year old lifeguard, Tomas Lopez, was fired by the private contractor, Jeff Ellis Management for rescuing a drowning man outside the Management companys contracted section of beach in the City of Hallendale Beach, FL?  

Recently the role of the contractor and the Lifeguards have reversed themselves. Good paying full time lifeguard jobs and 3 part time jobs were filled by the City to patrol and protect beach goers. These are much better paying jobs the what the contractor offered.

Video Link portraying the new hires with short story availabe here.

Jeff Ellis and associates paid the lifeguards $8.25 per hour. I find that stunning for young people risking their lives going into rip tides and strong currents to save a life and this pittance is what they were rewarded with.

Hallendale Beach originally hired this firm back in 2003.

Hallandale Beach began outsourcing its lifeguards in 2003 as a money-saving measure. The city was paying the company about $334,000 annually to provide four lifeguards and one supervisor at the beach year-round. The city's new program covering the beach and pools will cost $757,000 each year.
Today we now have  a wage that although modest, does allow these heros to provide for themselves. And one of the good parts to this is that former US Navy and Coast Guard Divers now have a job.
Former divers with the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard — along with five former members of the Cuban Water Polo Team — are now among the new lifeguards protecting the shores of Hallandale Beach, officials announced Monday.

The squad of six full-time lifeguards and six part-timers officially started on Monday, hoping to rescue the tiny Broward coastal city from a public relations nightmare that splashed across the globe earlier this summer.

The new job pays between $32,240 and $40,268 per year in addition to basic benefits. The lifeguards working for the private firm made $8.25 an hour. A full-time supervisor, three full-time lifeguards and two part-time lifeguards were also hired for the city's pools.
And the swimmers get excellent service going forward. Great story all around.

Unlike the previous guards, the new group will be required to cover the entire city beach area, including sections behind private condo buildings. The new lifeguards, who'll also be part of the city's fire department, are trained as emergency medical technicians and successfully passed a grueling qualification exam.

Private Contractors suck when doing a job better is available while working a full time job with benefits.

6:46 AM PT: The victim that Tomas Lopez and the other fired guards that saved the life of 20-year-old Maksim Samartsev . From the Miami Herald July 9th 2012.

A man with a boogie board already in the ocean paddled over. Together, they got Samartsev on the boogie board and dragged him to shore.

López heard screams from the crowd gathering on the beach and took off running, even though it meant leaving his coverage zone.

He got there as the boogie board with Samartsev’s near-lifeless body on it was pulled onto the beach.

A nurse stepped in and began giving Samartsev CPR until the paramedics arrived.

Ivan Samartsev said he was in his apartment in the Hemispheres Condominium when two officers knocked on the door to tell them that his son had been in an accident.

Samartsev said his son is on a three-month vacation from Estonia before he heads off to university and had only been in town for about two weeks when the incident occurred.

“I was so scared,” the elder Samartsev said.

The young man spent several days at Aventura Hospital getting oxygen. His father said he worries his son may have brain damage.

“We just don’t know,” he said. “We have to go back to the doctor.”

But Samartsev said that his son “walking and talking” is a miracle.

And he is so grateful for the heroes who saved his son’s life.

Read more here:

Update from DisNoir36 excellent point in the comments.

The old contract called for 4 life guards and 1 supervisor and was only for a beach.

The new plan costs more but from what I gathered calls for SIX full time lifeguards, SIX part time lifeguards PLUS a supervisor, THREE full time lifeguards AND TWO part time life guards for the city's pools.  Not to mention the lifeguards are for ALL the beaches.

That means the city is spending $757,000 as opposed to $334,00 but they're getting 18 lifeguards as opposed 5, the lifeguards will get better pay and benefits and all the beaches and pools will be safer for the people.

Originally posted to Pakalolo on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 04:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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  •  Tip Jar (233+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dlemex, Horace Boothroyd III, eeff, bluedust, sparkysgal, Rosaura, mamamorgaine, pioneer111, Statusquomustgo, Margd, Robobagpiper, temptxan, davidincleveland, OleHippieChick, PHScott, Hastur, JupiterSurf, Hoosier Al, CherryTheTart, bumbi, illegal smile, arlene, Cedwyn, missLotus, WiseFerret, dalfireplug, DRo, sailmaker, Nebraskablue, prettygirlxoxoxo, LynChi, SottoVoce, jfromga, Joieau, rgjdmls, SCFrog, Cory Bantic, Aquarius40, hazey, MartyM, lunachickie, spooks51, mungley, Russgirl, Calfacon, kerflooey, rosabw, Involuntary Exile, celdd, G2geek, Jake Williams, Gowrie Gal, rmonroe, cyncynical, revsue, kestrel9000, DeminNewJ, zerelda, Deep Texan, Cronesense, OhioNatureMom, cybersaur, Desert Rose, hazzcon, joynow, berko, poliwrangler, MKHector, Debby, rja, No one gets out alive, tapestry, wxorknot, nuclear winter solstice, Penny Century, BlueInARedState, majcmb1, mofembot, MKSinSA, Loquatrix, science nerd, Sylv, mikeconwell, GeorgeXVIII, WisePiper, JDWolverton, begone, roses, jhb90277, Librarianmom, history first, MKinTN, Mayfly, Gary Norton, Nailbanger, Its a New Day, Tinfoil Hat, SoCalSal, ask, sfbob, fixxit, minidriver, VA Breeze, dotdash2u, Quicklund, marleycat, gwilson, Tamar, sostos, MelKnee, Seneca Doane, jediwashuu, anodnhajo, IndieGuy, nailbender, Matt Z, cordgrass, doingbusinessas, kathny, la urracca, Ripeness Is All, Marjmar, bnasley, Khun David, TomFromNJ, defluxion10, millwood, MJ via Chicago, rmx2630, Nicci August, davelf2, luckydog, Mathazar, elginblt, hubcap, sukeyna, trumpeter, 417els, enufisenuf, pragmaticidealist, wayoutinthestix, skyounkin, petulans, wasatch, markdd, ColoTim, GoGoGoEverton, old wobbly, sebastianguy99, Lujane, jan4insight, CocoaLove, slowbutsure, oldliberal, M Sullivan, Lily O Lady, chimpy, VTCC73, teknohed, Assaf, ChemBob, YucatanMan, tegrat, Msinformed, second gen, weck, kevin k, Renee, Texknight, LillithMc, countwebb, steamed rice, ontheleftcoast, cosette, WisVoter, Michael Chadwick, Laughing Vergil, Arahahex, Boris49, MarkInSanFran, uciguy30, codairem, peacestpete, Azazello, splashy, Sapere aude, 2thanks, confitesprit, nirbama, karmsy, annrose, immigradvocate, cal2010, livingthedream, Simplify, BlackSheep1, oortdust, lupinella, Shirl In Idaho, Cassandra Waites, Carol in San Antonio, Railfan, Robynhood too, alguien, happymisanthropy, kurt, here4tehbeer, brentbent, hungrycoyote, fhcec, Kristina40, vicki, Shockwave, Youffraita, leonard145b, ceebee7, Dvalkure, xaxnar, Mentatmark, divineorder, Jim Domenico, haremoor, Dobber, renbear, operculum, radarlady, Dirtandiron, Larsstephens, pixxer, shaharazade, SadieSue, glorificus, Thestral

    "If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."- Lao-Tzu

    by Pakalolo on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 04:30:50 AM PDT

  •  That's great news! (40+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the update.  Any word about what happened to the fired lifeguard or the ones that quit in protest?  (Can't watch the video right now...)

    ...The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time. - Jack London

    by dlemex on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 04:38:58 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for Posting this story (33+ / 0-)

    I grew up in South Florida.
    It's good news to see the city take on new employees in an era of shrinking government.

    •  Everyone down here knows (7+ / 0-)

      how vital lifeguards are to these beaches. I'm really surprised that Hallendale would make such a boneheaded decision to outsource a public safety position. That is how I view life guards.

      We have thousands of visitors, in addition to the residents who swim and/or sun bathe on the Atlantic Coast. Considering this is a heavy tourist area, this was a bad alternative. Good thing the company changed its decision.

  •  Thanks for the update. (17+ / 0-)

    Decent ending to a sad story.

    Truth is harmonious, lies are discordant.

    by Babsnc on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 06:03:41 AM PDT

  •  Great story. I remember the original (7+ / 0-)

    fiasco, and now I see the update.  However, I didn't follow what happened in between.  Did the man who was saved ever comment on the whole fiasco of the firing?

    "My dear friends, your vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union." ---Representative John Lewis

    by SottoVoce on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 06:35:09 AM PDT

  •  Great to hear a bit of good news from my (8+ / 0-)

    fucked up state of Florida once in a while.

    Thanks for the update!

  •  that's the equation: (24+ / 0-)

    The only way a contractor for any municipal service can be "competitive" is by squeezing wages and cutting corners in order to turn a profit.  The lower the wages and the more corners cut, the bigger the profit.

    A municipality can hire its workers directly, pay them a dignified wage, and come out with a net savings.  

    And the "stuff" about private sector "efficiency" at providing these services is based on the myth that there is some kind of secret knowledge that private sector managers have, that municipal managers don't have or can't get, which is obviously nonsense, especially in the age of the internet.


    "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 07:02:25 AM PDT

    •  Re (5+ / 0-)
      The only way a contractor for any municipal service can be "competitive" is by squeezing wages and cutting corners in order to turn a profit.  The lower the wages and the more corners cut, the bigger the profit.
      This isn't true, it also makes sense in terms of economies of scale. If a contractor maintains some capability that is expensive in small batches but inexpensive in bulk (cleaning services, etc) outsourcing absolutely makes sense.

      Large companies do this every day. Intel is in the business of making microchips, not running a company cafeteria, so they outsource.

      It makes no sense at all to maintain every capability under the sun, especially if you're a small town. Contracting is absolutely essential to running your town effectively in some circumstances (but not others).

      As a taxpayer, one should ask "what gets me the most services for as reasonable a cost as possible?"

      (-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 08:53:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you may be right for some things, but lots of (8+ / 0-)

        the services contracted out in our county have suffered because of the contracting with private companies to supply those services. For example, bus drivers for both school buses and local transportation who have neither the training nor the disposition for what they do; crossing guards who do a decent job but are underpaid.
        For small niche jobs, you may be right. But for jobs that require a fair number of decently trained personnel, the contracting out is a mess.

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

        by Tamar on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 09:05:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  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

          [ Parent ]

          •  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

            [ Parent ]

          •  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

            [ Parent ]

            •  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

              [ Parent ]

      •  Cleaning bad example (5+ / 0-)

        It only makes sense to outsource if you need exspensive equipment that can be used efficiently by more people then you need or if you need a specialized skill but in such small amounts that it makes no financial sense to have even a part time employee on the payroll. A good example of the former is manufacturing chips as the cost of the equipment is and production setup is prohibitive and unless you plan on selling millions of them it is cheaper to share the cost with other purchasers. The second example would be something like a computer repair where you don't have enough need to have someone on staff but you want someone available.

        Cleaning or any kind of low-cost labor that doesn't require exsensive tools is popular to outsource but it is certainly not cost effective. Company's mostly seeme to outsource this because they don't want to deal with directly hiring cleaning staff, but they are certainly paying for that luxury.

      •  clearly you don't want to manufacture fire engines (8+ / 0-)

        .... or other municipal vehicles.  

        But "cleaning services in bulk?"  What's that supposed to mean?   That a crew of three custodians can magically clean city offices faster & more thoroughly if they're employees of a private company than if they're municipal employees?

        Outsourcing of labor is obsolete for the vast majority of municipal job descriptions.  All the factors of production are the same, all the information for management is universally available.  

        As for economies of scale, e.g. Blackwater can buy police cars by the thousands but Podunk Iowa has to buy them in onezies and twozies: that's bunk also.  Smaller municipalities can tag their orders on with larger municipalities to gain the same bulk-buying advantages as the latter.  This also lets the smaller municipalities buy better (equipment, materials, whatever) than they could afford otherwise.

        As for cafeterias, talk to the City of Berkeley CA about running school cafeterias.  When they contracted it out, the food was typical crap, low nutritional value.  When they brought it back in-house, they were able to reduce costs, improve quality, improve nutritional values, and support local agriculture.  This has been written up extensively and it's a win/win for everyone.  And the kids like the food better, which if nothing else is another measure of success.

        The bottom line is:  intelligent management vs. check-box management.  The lazy manager checks the boxes and considers the job done, because they've done what "everyone else" did.  The intelligent manager understands the operational details of what they're managing and knows where to look for improvements.  

        The only area where it's worthwhile to outsource municipal work is where there would be less than a full-time job or where the infrastructure requirements aren't realistic to meet.  A small town can't hire a full-time microbiologist and equip a food safety lab, so that work can be hired out.  But on the other hand, a cluster of small towns could, if they wanted to.  Somewhere in between, there's room for private contractors to provide food safety testing.  

        But as for the bulk of municipal jobs: public safety, sanitation, education, libraries, parks & rec, maintenance and management, etc.: there is no advantage to contracting out.  

        "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 10:07:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Excellent points... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...Just to re-affirm what you mentioned about police equipment:  yes, small departments often piggyback onto larger department contracts in order to get bulk price breaks.  When the CHP went from Kawasaki to BMW motorcycles, you might have noticed that many of the municipal agencies made the same change, and local and county officers were riding Bimmers just like the Chippies.  That's because those smaller agencies piggybacked their orders on the CHP contract.  They got better bikes at a better price thanks to the purchasing power of the CHP.  

          One thing I will say though regarding your "intelligent management vs. check-box management" idea.  You are right of course, but the thing to remember is how difficult it can be for good management decisions to be implemented at the government level.  As a person who has worked both in private and government sectors, I can attest to that.  In the private sector, when I or someone on my team isolated a way to do something more efficiently and cheaply, we'd point it out, come up with an alternate idea, make a case for doing it, and the company would often approve.  We'd then embark on the project of doing it.  In the private sector, management has full authority to make changes from the top-down.  To change the software, to change the process flow.  They don't have to worry about what everyone else is doing, at least to a certain degree.  

          But in government -- especially higher level (I primarily worked at the state level) it's way more complicated to make any change.  Not one department can make a unilateral change, because what they do affects another agency.  e.g.:  On one job I worked as a consultant for the state Department of Justice, we found many duplications of effort, and proposed that the computer software be re-written to allow that work to be done once only, and to have that work propagated to other divisions that needed the info.  We were shot down on that because the process the DOJ was using was dictated by the needs of other agencies, such as local police departments, the department of corrections, the FBI and other federal agencies.  

          Thus, the DOJ, while they realized the potential for savings, did not have the unilateral authority to change its own processes!  Likewise, Corrections could not make a unilateral change in its system because of the needs of DOJ.  It gets even more convoluted when you work your way though the agencies into divisions, bureaus and departments.  Now, take that and extrude it into the realm of local, county, state and federal government -- all of whom rely on each other for some piece of the pie, and it gets exponentially worse.  Counties can't change something because the state needs it a certain way.  The state can't change anything because the county does it this way, and the Feds do it another way.  

          One particular example I know of that shows how the private sector can sometimes help is the system that tracks parolees and people on probations across states.  There are thousands such people in all 50 states, and they often have travel restrictions as a condition of parole or probation.  Sometimes, they need to travel for legitimate reasons and can ask for a travel permit from their agent.  Four states away, they are stopped for a burnt out tail light.  NCIC shows the person is on parole and prohibited from leaving his home state.  He insists he has a travel permit from his agent, and shows it to the cop.  But, the cop cannot verify it because his state's computer cannot talk to the parolee's state's computer, and he can't contact the agent because it's 2am on a Saturday morning and he's not answering his pager.  The parolee gets to sit in a holding cell until the travel permit is verified.  

          So how do you get 50 states' computer systems to communicate with 49 others in real time, in two directions when you're dealing with a mix of systems ranging from the latest version of Oracle to AS400, to legacy flat-file systems, to home-brewed systems designed in the 70s?  

          You don't.  ;)  

          You hire a private corporation to setup a unified system that parole and probation agents in all 50 states enter travel permits into.  It's paid for by all the states that use it, since it's not fair for one state to bear the cost of such a system alone.  And that's what they did.  And it works pretty well.   Now, the police officer can have his dispatcher look in this private database system and verify the travel permit is legit, and our parolee goes on his way with a fix-it ticket for a burned out headlight at worst.  


          •  OK, but that's building fire engines. (3+ / 0-)

            Data communication, database, and data exchange functions: all that infrastructure is just like fire engines and probably best designed & built by private companies that are specialized for that purpose.  

            IMHO there need to be federal standards in place for all of that, and those standards need to be implemented all the way down to the local level.  

            But the people who use and manage those systems can all be hired by their respective gov agencies.  They don't have to be employees of the contractor, aside from some specific technical personnel who maintain the systems.  

            (The one exception of course is voting: there is no software-based system that is immune to attack, therefore the only acceptable option is a return to universal paper ballots, counted manually, with the entire counting process broadcast in realtime on the internet so citizens can watch & verify.  If that means we wait a day for results, fine.  Impatience is not an excuse for an absence of security in one of our nation's most vital functions.)  

            "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 11:57:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But it's kinda not building a firetruck... (0+ / 0-)

              It's more like deciding to not buy a new, high speed fire truck that can fight five times as many fires in half the time with half the water and a quarter of the diesel fuel, all because the agency that maintains hydrants can't afford to change the fittings on them to work with your new firetruck.

              That is the problem that hamstrings governments at all levels and prevents them from adopting new things that they know will be better only if they could...

              And the federal government coming in and dictating a new standard for fire hydrants to be compatible with high-speed fire trucks is fine, as long as they want pay for it. If they aren't, then you're going to get workarounds that are put together on a shoestring budget.  And your fire department is going to work like the other agencies I've seen with my own eyes:  you're going to have one tiny little part of the agency that is using the latest, greatest, cheapest, most efficient system with the other vacuum-tube crap from the 1950s duct taped to the back of it.  And you're not going to get the efficiency from the new high tech system, cause it's still dependent on the vacuum tubes to work.  

              I went to college over 20 years ago.  When I worked in  government, I found them relying on systems that were programmed in languages that were obsolete when I was in college.  One system literally started out on punchcards, and was still in use.  They couldn't replace it because they didn't have the money, and because shutting it off would have broken things three states away, and nobody was 100% sure what they were.  

              One server was so old that nobody knew how to re-start it, or if it would re-start at all.  After 9/11 when the government declared that all such critical systems be moved to a "high-security" data facility (earthquake proof, flood proof, bomb-proof, tornado proof, airplane proof with multiply-redundant power supplies and data links), they actually removed it together with its battery backup system and hooked the thing up to a generator so they could leave it running on the truck as it was being delivered to the new data center.  LOL  It was quite a site to see.

              Don't get me wrong:  I'm not saying privatization can fix those kinds of issues.  They can be just helpful in some cases (even it it's a temporary fix).  The point was to be cautious about having faith in the ability of government agencies to make significant systemic changes to become more efficient.  Making changes in government is far more complicated than doing so in the private sector, and it's not the fault of the people who work there.  Most of them are dealing with systems and processes that were put into place before they were even born, and that's the type of inertia that can make even the most minor change impossible.  To make our system as efficient and "real-time" as a Scandinavian country's would take massive system-wide effort, and massive funding.  I'm not opposed to that at all: it would be great for the economy.  But until we are willing to do that, it probably ain't gonna happen.    


              •  great, let's do it. (3+ / 0-)

                BTW, there used to be this thing called the Bell Telephone System.  It ran the USA's part of the global decentralized nervous system of its day, and it functioned perfectly.

                If we still had the Bell, and it was running those .gov networks, there would not be a problem.  Bell and GTE ran AUTOVON and AUTODIN (AUTODIN preceded ARPANET, and also functioned flawlessly), during the height of the Cold War.  If it's good enough for times when nuclear war was a constant threat, it's good enough for today.

                In lieu of that, at some point it's going to be necessary to issue federal standards and then fund & force compliance all the way down to the municipal level.  Yes that'll be a techie boom in its own right: wonderful!  That along with clean energy construction, could be the thing that brings back the middle class.   It's about time...!

                "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 01:05:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Knock yourself out! (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  trueblueliberal, Dirtandiron

                  I got out of that business years ago after I realized it's not healthy to wake up in the morning and think non-stop about how much you hate your career and that if you're lucky a Mack truck will take you out on the morning commute.  Nor is it normal to wake up on Saturday morning and have the first thing to cross your mind be "Fuck, only 48 hours until I have to go back there!"  

                  I'm willing to chip in with the tax dollars and moral support, though.  


      •  Intel's Cafeteria is a poor example (3+ / 0-)

        Not only are they large enough to operate with those 'economies of scale' in house (15,000 employees, not counting, of course, the outsourced cateteria staff), they suffer from the ills that come with most outsourcing.

        My relationship with the cafeterias at Intel’s Jones Farm campus(where I work) has been declining for a while. Or, more specifically, with the company that runs them, Bon Appetit ... At first is was just the constant price increases – every few months, the price for everything would just creep up a little. Way faster than the rate of inflation...They’ve been stocking less and less stuff, with the end result being if you don’t get there bright and early (before, say, 8:30 AM), they’re probably going to be gone. I’d understand if they just occasionally sold out, but it’s pretty consistent...

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 10:08:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Privatization is a two-fer. (0+ / 0-)

      The public officials rid themselves of responsibilities and obligations AND they have an opportunity to do a favor for an enterprise which is certain to look with favor on their re-election.
      It's indirect bribery and since there's no immediate benefit (personal ambition is anyways exempt), virtually impossible to interdict.
      Inserting layers of management that are supposed to make decisions on the basis of "objective" criteria simply augment the middlemen and, since the objective criteria usually end up being those that are quantifiable, we end up with decisions based on the quantity of money, rather than the quality of the services. There is no equivalence between quality and cost. But, that ends up being a rationale for going with the lowest cost.

      But, the bottom line is that we hire public servants to do a job and then they fob it off.

      We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 02:49:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Privatizing (8+ / 0-)

    I just never understood how these private companies can convince public agencies that privatizing saves them money.

  •  Isn't "privateer" another name for "pirate"? (6+ / 0-)

    Excellent news.

    Let's go back to E Pluribus Unum

    by hazzcon on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 07:27:33 AM PDT

  •  I find it ironically hilarious (6+ / 0-)

    that despite a long history of privatization of public services blowing up in the community's face people still push for it

  •  The fired contractor was a John Stossel posterboy (15+ / 0-)

    An ABC 20/20 segment titled When Is Greed Good? featured put-downs of the Red Cross by Jeff Ellis - because they're so non-profit!

    When is greed good. Not if you care about other human beings.

  •  THere is a place for privatization (7+ / 0-)

    If you need to fill in a position that requires skilled people but not enough workload for full time, then you are better off outsourcing to a company that has a group of full time employees that are spread around different clients. In this case, there was no need for a private contractor as they were just pocketing their middle man's cut to essentially hire and place lifeguards that could just as easily been hired by the town.

  •  You should highlight this (13+ / 0-)

    The old contract called for 4 life guards and 1 supervisor and was only for a beach.

    The new plan costs more but from what I gathered calls for SIX full time lifeguards, SIX part time lifeguards PLUS a supervisor, THREE full time lifeguards AND TWO part time life guards for the city's pools.  Not to mention the lifeguards are for ALL the beaches.

    That means the city is spending $757,000 as opposed to $334,00 but they're getting 18 lifeguards as opposed 5, the lifeguards will get better pay and benefits and all the beaches and pools will be safer for the people.

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 08:08:52 AM PDT

    •  Excellent point. Thank you. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mayfly, Carol in San Antonio

      "If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."- Lao-Tzu

      by Pakalolo on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 08:10:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well of course (5+ / 0-)

      that 334k included a decent cut for the owner, or why do it?

      They would still have to pay unemployment insurance, workman's comp, some kind of payroll service, some cursory background checks (which would happen way more often, because I'm sure their turnover was outrageous) - all expenses that the city already has, since they have employees. Adding a few more people won't impact that much.

      So the city pays double and gets 5 times the impact, with much better coverage and quality of employee.

      This isn't some city pool that's only open in the summer. This is a beach in an area that gets tourists year round, where you can use the beach year round. Lifeguards are needed year round, not just for 4 mos of the year.

      I can see a contractor running lifeguard services for a big city that only has pools open for a few months. But NOT on a beach that's used year round.

    •  How much safer? (0+ / 0-)

      Safe enough to not hire 5 teachers? That's what you just traded off (assuming the quoted costs are per year).

      (-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 08:56:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OMG! Won't somebody please!!! (5+ / 0-)

        think of the children!!!

        Come on, Sparhawk. The school district hires teachers, not the city.

        Besides, the underlying assumption seems to be that there is a fixed and immutable amount of money available for public services, and providing more services in one area necessarily subtracts services in some other area.

        This is, of course, not true either. If the people think they need more services than they are currently receiving, they always have the option of raising their taxes.

        I can understand why, since you bill yourself as a libertarian, that would be a particular blind spot.

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 10:18:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re (0+ / 0-)
          This is, of course, not true either. If the people think they need more services than they are currently receiving, they always have the option of raising their taxes.
          Yup, and then use that tax increase to hire $350k worth of lifeguards instead of more teachers, or what have you.

          The question you always have to ask for any chunk of money is always "is this the best use of this money compared to alternatives".

          This use may well be, I don't know. I don't live in that town.

          (-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 12:45:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Right (3+ / 0-)

        because letting people drown is free.

        because being know as the town where a kid drowned when he could have been saved, wouldn't hurt tourism revenue at all.

        I just genetically engineer them, I don't nominate them for President.

        by happymisanthropy on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 01:11:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Socialism in Action (13+ / 0-)

    And a good thing.

    It is a plain and simple and compelling illustration that the problem is not government.

    The problem is bad government.

    The problem is those who want to destroy government.

    Good government that works on behalf of the people is unavoidable and necessary.

    And if that is socialism, well, so be it.

    "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” --Yogi Berra

    by HeartlandLiberal on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 08:25:46 AM PDT

  •  Great news (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pakalolo, Marjmar, trueblueliberal

    Paranoia strikes deep. Into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid. You step out of line, the man come and take you away. - S. Stills

    by ask on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 08:46:08 AM PDT

  •  Excellent story. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Turning the tables on "outsourcing" to "private contractors" is almost always good news for labor.

    ...and if I said I thoroughly enjoyed the video for reasons other than newsy ones, would that be wrong? ...or would it just be wrong that I admitted it... ;)  Holy moly are those guys in beautiful shape.

    "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

    by Marjmar on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 09:31:44 AM PDT

  •  Way back most everything was Private Co. stuff (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pakalolo, happymisanthropy

    and the Public rejected that model in favor of Tax Supported Public Operations it's just that modern Society has forgotten/never-knew what life was like at the mercy of Private make-a-profit crap especially when it involves people dying and property being destroyed and mail getting to everyone even if they are "40 miles from nowhere" for the price of a cheap stamp cause the For-profit mail won't do that there's no money in it it's a money loser so tough-shit want mail get your ass to the City.

  •  Funny name. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pakalolo, catwho

    Are you a Hawai'i local or just funny?

    Thank you to jayden, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, Aji and everyone in the Daily Kos community involved in gifting my subscription and gifting others!

    by Nulwee on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 10:15:50 AM PDT

  •  So basically (5+ / 0-)

    They used to contract for five lifeguards at 8.25 an hour.

    Assuming they have to cover an open beach 12 hours a day seven days a week, which amounts to 84 hours a week, presumably with 2 life guards per shift. That works out to roughly 33.5 hours a week per lifeguard (notice how it comes out to under the 35 hours a week limit that precludes overtime and benefits?)

    So the "management company" is spending $16.50 an hour for 84 hours a week, times 52 weeks a year. Which is $72,072 a year for salaries. Again, we assume no benefits. But add in 20% to cover workman's comp and payroll taxes. Call it an even $90,0000 a year for the guards. Then, what, another $50k for the manager? Certain expenses can be assumed: equipment and supplies might add another $10,000 a year.

    That works out to roughly $150,000 a year in costs.

    So the "management company" was likely clearing almost $200.000 a year in taxpayer-funded profits. Nice work if you can get it.

    So now, they have 18 guards at an average of around $36,000 a year. That's $648,000, Plus a manager and expenses, makes it look like the taxpayers are actually getting what they are paying for at $757,000 a year.

    Amazing how privatizing the work COST the taxpayers nearly TWICE the value they were getting, with the lion's share going to pure profit for the (no doubt politically connected) "management company," while running it as a public service creates more and better-paying jobs and provides better service for the money.

    Damn that gubbamint interference in the marketplace!

  •  There's another factor here than "privitization" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pakalolo, trueblueliberal

    It's classism, pure & simple: who wants to be the person who hires janitors, cafeteria workers, & lifeguards? In a world dominated by careerism, people in H.R. who do the recruiting would rather work the assignments for highly-paid professionals, not minimum-wage workers who are likely to work a few months then disappear. I bet the biggest reason cleaning services are outsourced is that the white-collar types in H.R. are afraid their offices might get smelly from interviewing people who clean for a living.

    Life guards operate under a stereotype: teenage boys working a summer job who spend most of their time working on their tan than actually saving lives. That's why the current batch of life guards were paid $8.50 an hour. This screw-up by this government contractor opened a lot of eyes. Life guards are like firemen: they may appear to spend most of their working time not doing anything, but when they are needed, you don't want someone making minimum wages doing the work. (And yes, I know firemen do a lot more than just respond to fires.)

    Which is why I hope this new batch of life guards are thinking ahead, & adding to their duties other activities to raise their profile & add to their value. Because we all know that a few years down the road some nucklehead will look at these professionals spending their days walking up & down the beach & wonder why they are being paid $40,000 a year for a job he thinks any teenager could do for minimum wage.

  •  OMG! Hot lifeguard porn! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pakalolo, trueblueliberal

    Great story, too.  

  •  Shouldn't We Expect A Huge Outcry of Outrage From (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the Republican Cuban Community since 5 cubans from their Olympic team were hired as government employees, replacing a private firm and disrespecting the Republican Party's signature party line of "we must replace all government employees with private firms because private enterprise does it more efficiently, cheaper, and better".

    Hard core Republican communities are clueless about what their voting habits cause in the real world.

    I guess they are happy that the contract employee was fired by the private firm since they believe in "you are on your own".

    The Republican Party is Simply a Coalition of Greed and Hate

    by kerplunk on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 02:54:55 PM PDT

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