In theory, privatizing public services to reduce costs makes sense. But such a dramatic shift in operations can lead to drops in service levels that the public may not tolerate. Before any municipality goes through with a privatization plan, it is imperative to evaluate its cost-effectiveness. After all, a private company focused on profit can erode accountability and potentially drive governments deeper into debt.
Recently, Glynn County, Georgia turned down an EMS privatization plan, on the grounds that it would deprive the county of too many vital staff members. In other cases, outsourcing efforts are being stifled by union contracts or a lack of available services.
Since labor costs are any budget's top line item, more efficient workforce processes should first be evaluated. For example, better scheduling may reduce unnecessary overtime, and electronic transmission of time and attendance data to payroll systems may reduce errors.
All in all, it may be less expensive in the long term to use public workers instead of outside contractors. Thanks for watching!