Monday, August 23, 2010

Privatization of Scottsdale city services on deck

The City has posted on its website the agendas for next week's meetings of the Scottsdale City Council, and the Council will be jumping right into controversy upon its return from its summer break.

At the tail end of the agenda for next Monday's meeting is an item titled "Alternative Service Delivery Options for Residential Solid Waste Collection."  In other words, "privatizing trash pick up in Scottsdale."

The item is an 18 page analysis of the City's current solid waste collection system (the City does it all) and the possible alternatives -  outside vendors bid on the contract, outside vendors and City staff bid on the contract, and the City completely exits the waste collection business, leaving residents totally on their own.  It seems clear from the analysis the the City staffers preparing the it that they don't think this is a good idea (from page 2 of the .pdf -
"The analysis indicates that changing the means of delivering residential solid waste services would not be likely to result in an overall cost reduction."
However, the City Council majority group (Lane, Nelssen, Littlefield, and Borowsky) may have a different opinion.

Of course, there another line in the analysis that the Council will probably keep in mind when casting their votes on the matter.  Also from page 2 of the .pdf -
"There has been no community involvement in the preparation of this study."
Like Monday's agenda, the last item on Tuesday's agenda concerns privatization of a City operation.

That item is titled "Alternative Service Delivery Options for Fleet Parts Management."

Any organization as large as the City of Scottsdale has a large number of motor vehicles in use at any given time that regularly need maintenance.  For the sake of efficiency, they keep a supply of auto parts on hand.

Like the previous item relating to solid waste service privatization, there has been no community involvement with this, but it is less relevant - fleet parts management has no direct impact on private citizens.

Also like the previous item, no significant cost savings are anticipated, at least in part because any savings that would be realized would go to "enterprise" funded operations like Solid Waste and Water Resources (enterprise funded operations are funded primarily by fees, not the City's General Fund).

Also on tap for Tuesday:  a special meeting with an executive session for the purposes of "evaluating" the City Auditor (Sharron Walker) and City Clerk (Carolyn Jagger).  It's a little outside the usual period for employee evaluations - normally they're done right around the end of fiscal years.  I may be reading too much into this one, but it's worth keeping an eye on - City Clerk Jagger is the one long-time City Charter Officer who hasn't been forced out/fired since Jim Lane ascended to the Mayor's office.


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