TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner and Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee Chair James Beach which would require state departments to carry out cost analysis in certain cases prior to contracting out work cleared the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee today.
“Too often privatization results in a decline of accountability, service quality and public safety,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon/Mercer). “While there are cases where outside contracting is necessary, this bill will help ensure we are only utilizing outside vendors when it is in the best interest of the public and the state.”
The bill, S-1518, would require that departments provide a cost analysis of the work to be performed before entering into a contract or agreement with a private business to do work usually performed by employees of a state department. This would only apply to contracts or agreements over $100,000.
“At times privatizing services can be much more costly than continuing to keep the operation in house,” said Senator Beach (D-Burlington/Camden). “We must look at the whole picture before offering up these contracts to make sure we are doing things as efficiently and effectively as possible.”
The required cost analysis would determine if it is more cost effective to use employees of a private business, rather than state employees, and that the potential cost savings outweighs the public’s interest in having a function performed directly by the state.
The cost analysis would be available to the public, and would be provided to committees in the Senate and Assembly, as well as representatives of unions whose members would be affected by the contract.
The bill was released from committee today by a vote of 5-0, and next heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration.