Wednesday, February 15, 2012

CMS Privatization Advisory Committee Recommends More Outsourcing

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education received the first report
from its Privatization Advisory Committee on Feb. 14, which
recommended that the district consider expanding some outsourcing of
custodial functions and explore outsourcing some functions of
information technology as well as privatizing payroll.

The Privatization Advisory Committee was created in April 2011 to
review ways the district could benefit from managed competition,
outsourcing and consolidation of services. The committee has nine
members, with each Board member appointing one, and has met nine times
since convening in August.

Five CMS service areas have given presentations to the committee:
custodial services, Child Nutrition, transportation, payroll and
information technology. Doug Bean, formerly director of Charlotte-
Mecklenburg Utilities Department and a key player during the city's
privatization effort in the 1990s, also met with the committee.

The committee recommended to the Board that outsourcing of custodial
services be expanded to cover all administrative sites. At present,
four administrative sites receive outsourced custodial services; the
committee recommends outsourcing for six new administrative sites
scheduled for use during 2012-2013. No CMS employees would be
affected. The staff estimates that it saves about $110,000 per year
for the four existing sites. The committee will evaluate expanding
outsourced custodial services at a pilot group of schools.

The committee also recommended to the Board that a Request for
Proposal (RFP) be issued for outsourcing payroll services, which would
likely result in a reduction of CMS payroll staff. The committee said
that an RFP would allow the district to learn the market cost of
payroll services.

The committee also recommended that exploration of outsourcing
information technology continue, saying it does not yet have
sufficient information to make a recommendation but believes there are
opportunities for outsourcing that could improve service and save money.

The committee is chaired by Robert E. Harrington. The other eight
members are Joan Belk, Sylvia Grier, Barry Hall, Michael Murdock,
Kathleen Rose-Bellot, Cassandra Tydings, Susan Walker and John White.