Local Government Innovation: Issues and Trends in Privatization and Managed Competition

Local Government Innovation: Issues and Trends in Privatization and Managed Competition

Local Government Innovation: Issues and Trends in Privatization and Managed Competition

Local Government Innovation: Issues and Trends in Privatization and Managed Competition

Synopsis

Nationally recognized scholars and practitioners examine opportunities in which services traditionally provided by local governments are offered by the private sector though a contract or are transferred to a private business completely. Many large U.S. cities have contracted services for many years. With the movement to rightsize governments in recent years there has been renewed interest by local governments in similar ventures. Privatization, in its many forms, is now seen as a viable alternative to traditional ways of providing public services and can bring substantial benefits to residents. With greater accountability being demanded and pressures on local officials to hold the line on or reduce taxes, efforts to find innovative service delivery methods will probably increase. Cities, such as Atlanta, Indianapolis, and Charlotte, are examples showing that contracts with private businesses can work to benefit all parties. Local officials must move ahead cautiously, and not all attempts at privatization or contracting have succeeded. Some cities, after an evaluation, have decided to provide services with municipal employees.

Excerpt

Privatization of public services has existed in many forms for decades. the fiscal austerity during the 1980s, however, caused city officials to find additional ways to provide services at a lower cost. Interest in privatization and contracting grew among city officials and private businesses that were interested in providing these services. Privatization was viewed as one of several management tools available to local governments.

With greater accountability being demanded and pressures on local public officials to maintain or reduce taxes, efforts to find innovative service delivery methods will probably increase. Cities such as Atlanta, Indianapolis, and Charlotte are examples showing that contracts with private businesses can work to benefit all parties concerned. Certainly, local officials must move ahead cautiously, and not all attempts at privatization or contracting have succeeded. Some cities, after an evaluation, have decided to provide services with municipal employees.

This book examines numerous issues related to privatization, managed competition, and contracting in cities. It is designed to objectively explore options available to local public officials in providing services. Many people have contributed to this project in various ways. Ms. Loleta Didrickson, former Comptroller, State of Illinois, sponsored much of the research on experiences in Illinois cities; Ken Alderson, Illinois Municipal League, sponsored several conferences at which the ideas were presented; and Lori Sutton and Nancy Baird, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, analyzed survey data and managed the manuscript preparation. Numerous local public . . .

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