Haslam renews defense of outsourcing as most legislators seek delay

A majority of both House and Senate members have now asked that Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration delay implementation of privatization plans for the state’s higher education institutions. But the governor has renewed his defense of the plan, indicating he’s ready to push ahead.

From the Times-Free Press:

Seventeen members of the 33-member Tennessee Senate have signed a letter to the administration, along with 53 representatives of the 99-member House. The letter to Terry Cowles, Haslam’s chief of customer focused government, seeks a delay to give the General Assembly time to study the issue in depth.

Haslam on Monday defended the plan to outsource facilities management, including building oversight, energy management, repairs, janitorial and groundskeeping, to Jones Lang LaSalle.  It has the potential to hand the remaining 90 percent of state building management over to Chicago-based JLL, which already manages about 10 percent of Tennessee’s nearly 100 million square feet of office and building space.

(Note: A copy of the letter, including names of those who signed, is HERE.)

From the Nashville Post:

“It’s an effort we’ve been working on for two and a half years. It’s been as public as it can be. Everything about that is out there, OK? The effort is really clear that everybody’s job is protected. Nobody loses their job,” Haslam said during a tour to a Wilson County Elementary School. “Everybody’s job is protected. The schools themselves or the entities themselves get to decide. And it’s been shown by an outside firm that this saves real money. I’ve gone to board meetings all around, and when they look at, should we raise students’ fees, should we raise tuition or should we look at other ways to save money, I think that people should do their due diligence to see, is this another good avenue to save money so we can keep tuition and fees low.”

However, the actual contract drawn up between Jones Lang LaSalle and the state that will allow JLL to outsource and then subcontract to additional outsourcers up to 3,000 custodial, landscaping and maintenance jobs has numerous loopholes to permit JLL or their subcontractors to get around hiring all of those employees. JLL also has sizable incentives to cut the most from its budget in the first year of its contract.

But when asked about those loopholes, Haslam said they don’t exist.

“I don’t think there are loopholes. I think everybody’s job is protected. And we will actually have somebody on staff at the state monitoring every single job to make certain that happens,” Haslam said. “One other thing — workers covered under this actually have more protections than other state workers. Other state workers don’t have a guarantee that their jobs won’t go away. These folks actually have more protection than people who are not in an agency that could be impacted. That’s pretty good.”

Note: An earlier version of the letter asking for a delay had fewer signatures (41). The new version was circulated after JLL signed its new contract for expanded outsourcing.

2 Responses to Haslam renews defense of outsourcing as most legislators seek delay

  • TAA Conus says:

    I’ve been yelling my lungs out about JLL for a couple of years now and no one has done a thing. Thank you for posting this. But let’s look at some more facts about Jones Lange LaSalle:

    We will start with Gregory Gleaves. Gleaves was Executive Director of the TN GOP in 2010. He left that position the first of 2011 to be Chief of Staff for Beth Harwell, TN House Speaker. He left Harwell’s office (some one may want to look into why he left) to work for Hall Strategies. In June 2013 Hall Strategies registered as a lobbyist for their client, Jones Lange LaSalle.

    Prior to his inauguration, Bill Haslam disclosed a MAJOR investment with Jones Lange LaSalle.

    In 2013 JLL was awarded a $1 million dollar State contract to study the management of State buildings. That contract grew to $330 million as JLL took over the building management.

    And we have a big question; Is Alex Cate the son of Mark and Cathy Cate?

    Alex Cate is employed by Hall Strategies. Just wondering about this one….

    And who is Mark Cate? He is the former Chief of staff for Gov Bill Haslam. He left Haslam’s office to form Stones River, LLC. Stones River was awarded a $142 million State contract to manage the Tennessee Museum project.

    Another Principal with Stones River is Jeremy Harrell. Jeremy ran Haslam’s campaign for TN Gov.

  • Cannoneer2 says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but this is beginning to remind me of KBR/Halliburton on the federal level.

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