Louisville Cost Studies Seen as Move Toward Privatization

July 16, 2009

LOUISVILLE, KY - Previously rejected studies to determine how much fleet costs the City of Louisville are the first step toward taking away jobs from government workers and giving them to private companies, according to union officials, reported The Courier-Journal.

Originally rejected by the Metro Council in September 2007, the controversial studies made possible by a recent amendment to the city's fiscal 2010 spending plan will also examine the expenses of the Corrections Department.

The budget amendment says the mayor can spend up to $40,000 on the studies, intended to find ways to save money with more efficient procedures or by changing contracts, said city officials.

Union officials, however, see the cost studies providing only "short-term" savings, with the possibility of the quality of government services compromised by private companies.

The studies, to be done by the end of the fiscal year, will report on:

  • Description of services performed in fleet services and the jail.
  • Number of full-time employees performing those duties.
  • Total annual cost to perform the services.
  • "Per-unit" cost of providing the services.

Based on the savings results, city officials may conduct similar studies in other departments, reported the Journal. No firm has been hired yet to conduct the studies.

In September 2007, union leaders and members attending the committee hearing for the original cost study ordinance debate reportedly hissed, booed, cheered, and gave a standing ovation when the committee rejected the idea by a 6-5 vote, according to the Journal.

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