2009 Feb AFSCME 37 Massive Waste at a Time of Need
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Massive Waste at a Time of Need: An Examination of New York City’s Contracting Out of Public Services with Recommendations for Savings

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In the midst of our nation’s greatest economic challenge since the Great Depression, New York City’s taxpayers are paying twice for many services provided by city government due to contracting out. Millions of dollars are spent for services that city employees can and do perform daily at a lower cost. As the economy of the city and the state continue to deteriorate, every dollar of tax-levy funding spent for discretionary contracting out is wasted, while services such as health, education, police, fire and sanitation are being reduced.

This “white paper” – Massive Waste at a Time of Need – is presented on behalf of the 125,000 members and 50,000 retirees of District Council 37, the city’s largest municipal union. It describes the epidemic of contracting out that is draining funds, hurting morale and reducing the reliable civil service workforce in city agencies. The report examines spending for personnel and professional services contracts by New York City over a five-year period, with a close review of contracts for functions that parallel the jobs performed by District Council 37 members. It also analyzes conditions that led to cases of public fraud in the past that still exist in several city agencies. Finally, the white paper presents recommendations on how New York City can save about $130 million dollars in the next three years by ending the contracting-out of work that can be performed at lower cost and more efficiently by trained civil servants.