Maven has an excellent post about AB449.
From the RGJ editorial she links to
Assembly Bill 449 would reorganize the state’s economic development efforts. The plan moves those efforts front and center in the state capital by creating a new Cabinet-level Office of Economic Development to be overseen directly by the governor.
The purpose of the new plan is not to start a new diversification program from scratch but to streamline the current maze of development agencies, commissions, departments and semi-governmental organizations and ensure that everyone is working toward the same goal.
The bill also creates the Catalyst Fund to provide competitive grants for businesses that are expanding, relocating or creating new jobs, with money from the state’s unclaimed property fund.
If economic development councils worked so damn well, why are we in the pickle we’re in right now? And, furthermore, how is our deluded Governorship going to convince business and industry to come to Nevada when the state can only boast one of the worst K-12 and higher education systems in the nation?
Keep her post in mind as you read mine.
Assembly Bill 469 was introduced into the Assembly on March 28th by the Government Affairs committee and its first hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, April 12th. I urge you to oppose this bill, and make your opposition known to the members of the committee and your Assemblyperson.
Revises provisions governing public property and purchasing. (BDR 27-678)
The devil, they say, is in the details and I never let an innocuous one-sentence description stop me from reading the entire bill as presented. (pdf)
AN ACT relating to governmental administration; authorizing the leasing of unused state buildings, grounds and property to new businesses seeking to locate or expand in this State; authorizing local governments to enter into agreements with one another to advertise for contracts and make purchasing agreements together; requiring school districts to advertise for bids for the provision of certain services in the school district; authorizing local governments to award contracts based in part upon the best value offered; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.
On initial reading, this doesn’t sound so bad, does it? We’ve got some state buildings that aren’t being used, so it might be nice to see them generate some revenue, right? Letting smaller county governments enter into contracts to get better discounts? Yep, that sounds okay too. Best value? Okay, cheapest isn’t always “best” so, okay. But wait, what’s that about “requiring” school districts to advertise for bids for certain “services?” What is that all about?
The Legislative Counsel’s Digest of the bill spells it out a bit more:
Legislative Counsel’s Digest:
Existing law grants the Chief of the Buildings and Grounds Division of the Department of Administration the authority to manage all state buildings, grounds and properties not otherwise provided for by law, including collecting rent from any state department, agency or institution that is renting space in a state building or property. (NRS 331.070, 331.102) Section 1 of this bill requires each state department, agency or institution to submit an inventory of any state buildings, grounds or properties assigned to it which it is not actively using, and requires the Chief to compile those inventories into a list of unused state buildings, grounds and properties.
Section 1 further requires the Chief to make that list available to the Commission on Economic Development and to authorize the Commission to lease the available state buildings, grounds and properties to new businesses seeking to locate or expand in this State. Section 1 also authorizes the Commission to offer a discount on the first year of the lease to the business, but requires any lease to be for a term of at least 10 years. Section 2 of this bill authorizes the Chief to enter into any leases or arrangements to make use of state owned buildings, grounds and properties for purposes other than economic development.
Wait a minute. There are commercial properties for rent all over the state sitting idle, losing money for their owners, and the state wants to rent out state buildings for free? If I were a private property owner of any of those empty rental spaces, I’d be screaming bloody murder about this. This section of the bill is bad news for them, and what does the state get out of it, exactly? According to the bill, as little as nothing for the first year. Jeezus. No corporate income taxes aren’t enough, we are going to give them free rent too? And, according to AB449, new businesses would also be given grants to bring their business here. Grants. Not loans. Grants. As in: money that doesn’t have to be paid back.
As an aside, AB449 appears to replace the Commission on Economic Development with three separate entities: an Advisory Council on Economic Development (appointed), a Board of Economic Development (appointed), and the Office of Economic Development. Yeah, that’s more efficient! Anyway, AB449 takes the power of the Commission and puts it in the hands of the single Executive Director (appointed) of the Office of Economic Development.
Back to the Legislative Counsel’s Digest of AB469:
Existing law sets forth the procedures a local government must follow to advertise for bids for contracts or to enter into purchasing agreements. (NRS 19 332.039-332.225) Section 4 of this bill authorizes local governments to enter into agreements with each other to mutually advertise for bids or enter into purchasing agreements or exercise authorized purchasing powers to maximize their efficiency and economy. Section 7 of this bill revises the considerations a local government must take into account when considering bids, and requires the local government to consider which bid provides the best value rather than just which is lowest, where best value includes not only cost but also the greatest possible economy consistent with the quality and sustainability of the materials, supplies, equipment and services.
Section 5 of this bill requires county school districts to advertise for bids for persons not employed by the school district to provide services such as custodial services, maintenance and transportation at least once every 5 years, and section 8 of this bill requires the school district to file an annual report with the Legislature or Interim Finance Committee about each contract awarded, or if no contract was awarded, the reasons for not awarding a contract and a comparison of the lowest responsive bid and the cost incurred by the school district in providing the service itself.
Got that? School districts already have janitors, maintenance workers and bus drivers on the district payroll. This bill would require that school districts privatize those jobs, and if they don’t, they must explain WHY to the legislature.
“must advertise for bids for persons not employed by the school district“
Not only are private rental property owners going to get screwed, so are all the facilities, custodial, operations and transportation employees. They will lose their jobs under this bill. Make no mistake.
Gone will be long-term, trustworthy, and knowledgeable employees who feel connected to their schools. Who will come in their place? Who knows? It won’t be the school district who will be responsible for screening these employees. That responsibility will fall to the private contractor.
There is a caveat in the bill that says that any school district employee covered by a collective bargaining agreement on or before July 1, 2011 would be exempt from this requirement. My husband works for Washoe County School District. Guess when their contract expires?
This bill is straight-up designed to get rid of our school custodians, maintenance staff and bus drivers.
Furthermore, taken in it’s entirety, this bill appears to be written to benefit the largest purveyors of these kinds of services. Companies like ARAMARK.
I bet you can’t guess who recently contracted with Washoe County School District to provide nutrition services at all WCSD schools. From the WCSD Nutrition Services web site:
Beginning July 1, 2010, the Washoe County School District partnered with ARAMARK Education, a leading provider of food and nutrition programs, to manage the District’s food services. This partnership will provide a quality, healthy, nutrition-based food service program to the district’s more than 63,000 students. In the coming months, more than 30 of the District’s cafeterias will be transformed into new dining environments with freshly-painted walls, new service areas and equipment, and student-friendly nutrition information. We will continue to enhance more cafeterias each year until all of the District’s cafeterias have been transformed. The students of Washoe County will benefit from ARAMARK’s proprietary, award winning dining concepts and nutrition awareness programs including Cool*Caf™, 12 Spot™ and U.B.U. Lounge. These are research-based, proprietary brands that are designed to reflect the habits, choices and nutritional requirements of today’s elementary students, tweens and teens. Visit the Dining Brands page to learn more about these new dining environments.
That reads like it came straight from ARAMARK’s marketing department.
Guess what services, besides nutrition services, ARAMARK also provides to school districts?
As an award-winning leader, currently partnering with more than 500 school districts nationwide, ARAMARK offers school districts a single source for food service management and planning, plant and operations management, custodial, and maintenance services.
Isn’t that just the most amazing coinky-dink?
Now all that “best value” language, allowing local governments to enter into joint agreements stuff, and use of discounted state buildings for businesses wishing to “expand” in Nevada makes sense, doesn’t it?
AB469′s first hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, April 12th in the Assembly Committee on Government Affairs. I urge you to oppose this bill, and make your opposition known to the members of the committee and your Assemblyperson.
More links and info on school services privatization on the flip side. Continue reading