Friday, February 17, 2006

The Crime of Privatization

Here is another example of the criminal nature of contracting out and privatization.

Payments may have lasted six years

The American company accused of offering secret commissions to two Edmonton police officers to get an untendered $90-million photo-radar contract may have offered the inducements for more than six years.

The RCMP did not release details of the charge against Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services, but the publicly traded company was required to report the allegations to its investors through the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to a document filed Wednesday with the SEC, the charge covers the period from Jan. 1, 1998, to June 14, 2004.

The RCMP charged the company Wednesday with offering secret commissions to two members of the Edmonton police service's traffic section. The officers were also charged with Criminal Code offences.

Det. Tom Bell faces three counts of breach of trust and one of accepting a secret commission.

Staff Sgt. Kerry Nisbet, the former head of the traffic section, faces two charges of breach of trust and one of accepting secret commissions.

Let's understand one thing, whether it is legal or illegal, its all about insider deals and low ball bidding. There are no real savings to taxpayers, you and me, the workers who are also employed either in the public sector or private sector. The only savings made in contracting out is by underpaying workers. Profits are pocketed not for the public good but the private fortunes of a few. And here is a perfect case where companies engage in bribery, good old crony capitalism, and kick backs to get contracts. Not unlike the Third World. In fact the very nature of privatization of government services is prone to exactly this problem, not as an anomaly but as business as usual.

"The commission is going to look at where did this go wrong, and how did it go wrong," Billett said at a news conference.

"Do we continue with ACS? Do we extend their contract? The (request for proposals) has gone out and we do have some options," he said.

The charges stem from a 19-month RCMP investigation into allegations that at least three traffic officers accepted perks from ACS. The city granted the company an untendered photo-radar contract worth an estimated $90 million over 20 years, based on the recommendation of the police service.

The fact is that the photo radar should never have been privatized. It was just the cops were too lazy to want to administer it, and the police, the city and the police commission mutually agreed that it was better to spend the money on cops than on civilians to operate the photo radar. Even though it brings in oddles and oddles of money.

So instead a private company was hired untendered, opps there is part of the problem, and then tips cops for their private profit. And this is saving us money? No we are being ripped off. And the police commision should have canceled the contract immediately and brought the whole thing back in house. It will pay for itself, and if the cops don't want to do the work, another city department could.

Here is another irony the RCMP investigation is secret but under U.S. corporate reporting rules the news is released for public perusal thanks to the SEC. So we find out what is happening not from the police commission, a civilian oversight committee but from the SEC. And these guys on the commission still want to go ahead with contracting photo radar out as if nothing has happened. That's criminal.

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