Outsourcing plan developed in secrecy with potential contractors

For almost a year and a half, a small group of highly paid state executives have been regularly meeting in secret, determining the future of more than 3,000 state employees whose jobs could be outsourced, according to the Nashville Post.

From late August through November of this year, the (10-member “steering committee) was joined by representatives of the company or companies — name and number unknown — that will bid on the contract to hire outside workers for physically laborious state jobs.

Officials issued a request for proposals on Dec. 1, with a timeline that will have the state accepting a bid in late March — and only companies that have been involved in the process so far are allowed to apply.

The unprecedented secrecy of the process has already led to questions about the results of an outside accounting review by KraftCPAs, a Nashville firm with strong ties to Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration. Now, documents obtained by the Post via an open records request, along with the RFP itself, show that the state’s claims to protect all current employees’ jobs and provide the same level of benefits are misleading at best — although critics of the plan use much harsher language.

“The Governor is already breaking his own promises about outsourcing, and the proof is right there in the RFP,” said Thomas Walker, a spokesperson for United Campus Workers.

(While the governor has said no employees will lose their jobs or have compensation reduced, the article notes that employees are not covered by the promise if they work less than 30 hours a week, have been employed less than six months or fail a background check not now required. Also, the job can be moved to a new location up to 50 miles away. And when vacancies occur, the contractor need not fill them and, if so, can hire new employees at lower pay.)

…Despite making many qualifying statements about how nothing is set in stone until a contract is signed, it’s apparent that the steering committee itself is considering the outsourcing move a virtually done deal.

…Keep in mind that “vested” or “collaborative value development” procurement is basically designed to result in a done deal. Under the process… the contractor is involved in creating the RFP to which it will respond in the hopes of getting a contract. It is a process that has been used by some large companies but is virtually untested in the public sector.

Respondents to the RFI were given the opportunity to reply to a RFQ, or request for qualifications, that was issued April 11. Only the companies deemed qualified were allowed to participate in the vested creation of the RFP, which occurred during meetings every Thursday and Friday from Aug. 25 to Nov. 21, per PowerPoint slides from April and August steering committee meetings. And only those companies will be allowed to respond to the RFP itself.

How many companies are there? Is there even more than one company involved? Only the people involved in the process know, and they’ve all signed non-disclosure agreements.

2 Responses to Outsourcing plan developed in secrecy with potential contractors

  • Rob Mitchell says:

    This weekend we passed over 1800 signatures. I have reached out to folks all over the State as best I can. Do you have any ideas on how we can better share the petition? At this rate we may not make 25,000 signatures by Christmas but I think we can reach 5000 by that time.

    View Petition Here : http://ipt.io/bbvpt

    Lets make this happen

  • Carol green says:

    Play fair for the citizens of Tennessee and all those who come to visit and possibly stay.

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