Thursday, September 14, 2017

Beth Harwell: No privatization of Tennessee park services as govenor

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Beth Harwell
During Bill Haslam's time in office, he has increased government efficiency and increased our ranking in education and other measures.  During his time in office he has also reduced the State payroll by over 5,000 employees. He unsuccessfully pursued other efficiencies such as privatization and outsourcing of some functions at universities and state parks. Speaker of the House and candidate for governor Beth Harwell today announced that she should would not seek to privatize services at state parks if elected governor (link).

While at this point I am undecided who I will support for governor and while there are several factors that will go into my decision, I would like someone to serve as governor who would continue to pursue opportunities for reducing state payroll. This stated position by Beth Harwell opposing privatizing is a mark against her.

Some elected officials see governments function as a provider of employment and will oppose any economizing efforts that would cause a constituent to lose his job. I experienced this viewpoint at work shortly after I was elected to serve in the Metro Council. In the early 80's Metro still had elevator operators of the elevators in the Metro Courthouse.  I remember as a boy, almost all elevators had elevator operators but by the 80's elevators had long been self-service. The elevators in the courthouse were modern contemporary elevators, yet we still had an elevator operator which would ask you which of the three floors you wanted to go to and push the button for you.  Some members of the Council opposed eliminating those positions because those people would lose their job.

There was a big fight in the Council in changing the way we picked up garbage.  At that time, Metro did not contract any of the garbage collection but it was all collected by Metro employees.  We picked up garbage twice a week at the back door.  The garbage cans were not uniform and the garbage cans had to be manually empties instead of having a devise that lifted the cans.  A big
expense of collecting garbage was workman's comp. It seems that most garbage men ended up retiring early with a bad back. Contracting out garbage collection saved the city a massive amount of money, but many fellow council members opposed any change to the way we collected garbage because they had constituents who would lose a job.

The purpose of government is not to provide government jobs.

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