NASHVILLE – After hearing from campus workers, students, faculty and business owners across the state who would be affected by Gov. Haslam's extensive plan to outsource state jobs, state Rep. John Ray Clemmons and Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris have called for an audit of the state's expiring contract with Jones Lang LaSalle.
"Any plan to outsource more state services would have a direct impact on thousands of families across our state, jeopardizing jobs and eliminating accountability," Rep. Clemmons said. "Before we continue down the path of privatization, we are requesting the comptroller to take this timely opportunity presented by an expiring contract to thoroughly examine this administration's past experiments with outsourcing. In the spirit of upholding our duty to be responsible stewards of Tennesseans' tax dollars, Sen. Harris and I simply want to add some transparency to the privatization process and require the benefit of an impartial cost/benefit analysis to better inform future decisions."
The two lawmakers sent a letter to the state comptroller requesting the audit to evaluate the expiring, exclusive contract with Jones Lang LaSalle. The Department of General Services has decided to end the state's exclusive relationship with JLL after Feb. 29, 2016. The lawmakers have requested findings on whether there were any actual cost-savings to the state, whether the private entity performed as promised, and whether the quality of services outsourced were maintained or improved.
"As soon as you get out of Nashville and get around the state, you hear from scores of state workers, stakeholders and experts who say that outsourcing state parks and college campuses won’t work," Sen. Harris said. "It would be bad precedent to plow ahead now in full disregard of testimony from folks who know the most about our state properties. Before the governor makes a drastic change to how we run our state, we need to spend some time understanding what went right and what went wrong the last time the state did a similar transaction with a private company. We need to thoroughly examine these past deals so that an informed decision can be made.”
State Sen. Lee Harris represents District 29 in Memphis and serves as Senate Minority Leader. Follow the Senate Democratic Caucus on Twitter at @TNSenateDems.
State Rep. John Ray Clemmons represents District 55 in Nashville. Follow him on Twitter at @JRClemmons.