Public to Private transition

Jerome Stocks Jerome Stocks 8 Comments

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Yesterday the Board of Directors of the North County Transit District (I am a member of that 9 member Board) voted unanimously to  outsource the bus drivers and mechanics to a private concern. The buses and routes will be the same, and most of the employees will likely be the same but they will work for a private company instead of a public agency. The change will largely be invisible to the transit riding public. So why do it? Because the private company can put service on the street for about 10 million dollars less per year. Public transit is taxpayer subsidized and the Board felt this would be the best way to maximize public benefit and most efficiently use taxpayer dollars, which is especially important in these tough times.

When dealing with the livelihoods of people who have worked in good faith to serve the public, the NCTD Board and executive staff was very concerned for the well-being of our employees. But since the state has taken away millions of operating dollars and the sales tax receipts from “TDA” and “Transnet” are reduced due to the economic downturn, difficult decisions have had to be made. Our decision was one that we felt best served the taxpaying public as well as the employees of the district.

 Below are some news stories about the changes coming to the North County Transit District:

San Diego Union-Tribune Outsourcing of NCTD’s bus services is approved

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2009/nov/20/outsourcing-nctds-bus-services-approved/

North County Times Transit board votes to privatize its 325 bus workers

http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/sdcounty/article_a5abd929-1c90-5086-a80e-125790576f1a.html

Metro Magazine

http://www.metro-magazine.com/News/Story/2009/11/NCTD-taps-First-Transit-for-operations-maintenance.aspx

Channel 10 News Coverage

http://www.10news.com/video/21670564/index.html

San Diego Channel 6 Coverage

http://www.sandiego6.com/news/local/story/North-County-Transit-Outsources-Bus-Service/N1A2GBVPBEy-9FYpxmIL_g.cspx

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Comments 8

  1. I guess you never learned about “proof reading” before publishing. nor do you bother to respond to emails…at least not the one I copied you on recently. Maybe you can answer PUBLICLY why NCTD survived the loss of funding in 1996 WITHOUT privatizing and WITHOUT any lay offs of any sort. In past years NCTD took pride in the fact that they had NEVER had a lay off. The management heads of yester year did not spend public tax payers money frivolously and did not give executive directors salaries, benefits and perks such as the ones received by the current director. Why did the board in 2004 approve paying the entire employees share of the PERS contribution for management personnel which amounts to about $640,000.00 per year and continues to pay this when the district is in financial trouble. The board members approved spending NCTD into the hole with poor decisions and the Sprinter, train to nowhere. Shame on all of you. You have destroyed the lives of the dedicated employees and their families, reduced service to the public (and will continue to do so) and brought in a company that intends to profit off the backs of the little guys’ hard work. None of what you have done will reduce the fares to the public which would encourage more ridership and none of this will increase service. All you have done is succeed in providing another management oriented company with a source of revenue cut from the real workers. Mathew Tucker stated at a meeting that in order to attract and keep quality employees he had to offer top wages and benefits but he meant “management employees”. Bus drivers do not count as quality employees but they are the ones responsible for the safe transportation of live human cargo. No one puts any value on that. So many people think $21.65 per hour is too much money for driving a bus. Well think about this, drivers that deliver freight make the same and their cargo is NOT children, seniors, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, aunts, uncles etc. Drivers that deliver freight to NOT put in 12-14 hours days to get paid for 8 either because they do not work splits such as the ones bus drivers do! When you are required to work splits you cannot even get a second job because the one job takes up the entire day. Yes, NCTD is supposedly saving $10M a year but remember you get what you pay for.

  2. Finally, something we can agree on (the belly laugh). I have fixed it and would ask Councilman Stocks to keep his personals out of the headlines.

  3. So I’m curious if the board decided to cut any of their perks prior to this out sourcing? I find it amazing that after years of approving pay raises for their employees, they finally decided that salaries were a big part of their budget and decided to outsource the jobs. Maybe nationalizing all rail systems would be the way to go since that would mean outsourcing all of these boards to the feds. That would be a great way to cut a lot of unneeded expense.

  4. You are confused. The NCTD Board Members receive a stipend of $75 per meeting and a transit pass. Not big “perks” to me, but I’m not you.
    Also, Nationalizing is the polar opposite of outsourcing. Nationalizing to the feds makes every employee a government worker, whereas outsourcing means the employees work for a private contractor who is a vendor of service.

  5. Well, “Capitalist”, I’m not a fan of government perks to politicians. If someone wants to serve, even on a commission, then let them. I don’t get paid to serve on a local commission (And I am a political appointee).

    The “outsourcing” as I see it, is that the pay and benefit package that the District kept on approving, finally got too much. Not having the “guts” to explain reality to the Unions and the workers, the board decided to let another firm do the cuts, by outsourcing (Now, if your formers employees are going to still be making the same money and benefits as before the outsourcing, then I apologize). If this is not the case, then please explain why this private business can run the operations so much cheaper?

    I recall many years ago when San Diego Unified School was considering outsourcing the entire transportation department. Management and the Union got together and were able to keep transportation “in-house” rather than outsourcing. Sometimes it takes courage to explain reality to the employees and the unions and see if something can be worked out. If the government agency (any) would just realize that there is not an infinite of money for them and actually think and explain this while in negotiations, I’m sure the labor unions would come to line and actually work to keep costs low. They know that it is in their best interest to keep their membership employed (And collected their dues). But the fact is that rarely does government do that, and that is a main source of the problem facing government deficits. Governments kept on giving whatever to the Unions and not that has come back to haunt them. Fiscal conservative leadership is needed in all branches of government.

  6. Well “Regor” you are the only alleged conservative who I’ve ever seen bag on people for moving jobs from the government to private enterprise.

    The NCTD Board unanimously voted to send their government employees into the private workforce. A more conservative move would be difficult to imagine, and still you criticize?

    Some people are just constant critics and as a result their input naturally gets diminished. Or perhaps your “nom de plume” is merely disguising a big government oriented person, and that’s the real basis of your criticism?

    Also, congratulations and thank you for being an unpaid political appointee. Many of us are or were the same. And many of us realize that most appointees / volunteers serve an “advisory” role to professional staff or duly elected officials who get paid to take the heat and make the final decisions.

    The NCTD Board Members are all elected to office locally then appointed to serve on that regional Board. Again, I’m not you, but I do not begrudge them the $75.00 per meeting which probably equals something like $5.00 / hour they earn in that role of making decisions and providing oversight on behalf of the public,

    I hope Thanksgiving was one of many blessings for you and yours.

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