Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Another Privatization Miracle

Due to the Republican scheme to privatize parts of our state government we are now having to pay more for the privatization than what we were promised by our representatives. That, obviously, makes taxpayer savings less than what we were promised. But in this day and age it is not the fault of the privatizing company (Convergys) for this increased cost, it's a state agency that was left with far fewer employees than needed to perform the oversight on the company.

From the Chronicle, State audit finds privatized payroll often late, wrong:
Health department staffers discovered overdrafts on their personal checking accounts last fall when a private payroll contractor missed deposit deadlines for 80 workers, according to a highly critical state audit released Tuesday.

Other state workers reported that they didn't get paid on time or they didn't get paid correctly, including for overtime.
From the Statesman, Agency disagrees with findings:
Jill Rauch, an administrative assistant at the Brenham State School, a residential facility for people with mental retardation, said that when she was applying for a different state job through the Access HR Web site, the application disappeared from the screen and she had to retype it. "It's frustrating," Rauch said. "Nobody's happy with it."

Will Rogers, spokesman for the Texas State Employees Union, has documented more than 140 employee complaints, many describing difficulties logging into the system or problems while trying to apply for a state job.
What do our current and former elected representatives have to say about this?
"Every time we look at saving money, clearly quality suffers. Privatization doesn't always save money or result in more efficiency," said state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, who opposed the social services overhaul passed in 2003.

Convergys spokeswoman Lauri Roderick said the company had no immediate comment on the audit's findings.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Steve Ogden, R-College Station, who plans to discuss the audit along with Medicaid fraud allegations at a committee hearing today, did not immediately comment on the audit. Also unavailable was former state Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth, a lobbyist and the author of House Bill 2292, which mandates social services consolidation.
Why doesn't anyone responsible for this mess want to talk about it?

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