Washtenaw Community College’s plan to outsource IT services

Over the past week or so, I’ve had several discussions with people at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) about declining enrollment and what it might mean for the future of the institution. As for why fewer people are enrolling, there are numerous contributing factors; the population of college-aged people is dropping, the cost of tuition has risen, and larger in-state institutions have started increasing the sizes of their incoming classes. Perhaps most importantly, though, EMU has traditionally been a school for teachers, and, as we know, the state of Michigan, over the past several decades, has become increasingly hostile to public education, meaning that there are fewer good jobs for teachers. And, of course, it doesn’t help that fewer international students are choosing to enroll in American universities thanks to the racist, xenophobic rhetoric and actions of our President. So, when you add all of that up, it translates to fewer students, and significantly decreasing revenues. And the Regents of the university, most of whom are political appointees of Republican governors, have responded like you might expect them to — not by standing up for public education, or fighting for more creative policies, but by looking for concessions from labor, and wholeheartedly embracing a strategy of privatization. And EMU, I should add, is not alone in this regard… Which brings me to the subject of tonight’s post.

[above: Washtenaw Community College mascot, Alpha, the outsourcing wolf.]

As you might have heard, Washtenaw Community College (WCC) is presently considering a contract to outsource all of their IT work to Ellucian, the for-profit, Reston, Virginia-based firm that already owns a significant portion of the higher-ed advising and registration software market. [Their software product, Banner, is already being used by EMU, as I understand it.] The move, according WCC President Rose Bellanca, would “save the college around $600,000 per year.” That, however, at least according to Bellanca, isn’t why the college is pursuing it. According to reporting by MLive, college administrators are doing this because, two years ago, their IT infrastructure when down for three days, and they can’t afford to have that happen again.

Here’s the way the MLive press release-like story begins. “Two years after a three-day outage impacted Washtenaw Community College,” the author writes, “the college is proposing to outsource its technology management services.” And that, I’m sure, is how WCC would like to have things framed. The truth, however, is that it probably has a lot more to due with the money, and ongoing relationships between Ellucian and members of the WCC administration… I’ve yet to thoroughly fact-check it, but, according to a recent article posted to Reddit, “President Bellanca has worked with many colleges that have outsourced IT to Ellucian, including Northwood University in West Palm Beach, St Clair Community College, and Macomb County Community College“… And, for what it’s worth, I’ve also heard through the grapevine that the college’s IT infrastructure didn’t really go down for a solid three days, as they’re claiming. It just went down intermittently over a course of three days, until it was determined that the issues were being caused by a television monitor that had been installed at the college’s Recreation Center. And, I should add, there’s been talk about Bellanca wanting to outsource IT at the college since she first arrived at WCC. In fact, according to reporting in April 29th, 2013 issue of the school paper, The Washtenaw Voice, Bellanca had to come out and tell staff that “she would not outsource IT” at WCC, as she had “in past experiences”.

So it would appear as though there’s at least a possibility that this service outage, such as it was, is just being used to justify the outsourcing of these positions… a move, by the way, that could cost 31 to 40 WCC employees their jobs. [WCC says that 31 employees will be terminated under the plan, but then given an opportunity to apply for employment at Ellucian. I’ve heard, however, that the number could be closer to 40.]

I should add that I don’t know that this is necessarily a bad move for WCC. I have no experience with Ellucian, and I have no idea how happy students and staff are with the IT and web services currently being provided by their in-house team. I do know, however, that something really doesn’t smell right here. [Oh, WCC’s VP of Finance, from what I’m told, also outsourced his past employer’s IT department to Ellucian.] And I say that not just because I don’t buy the “three day outage” excuse, but because this whole thing is going down so quickly, while a lot of WCC faculty are out for the summer. Here, for those of you who might be curious, is the timeline as it has been conveyed to me.

June 4th – Board Meeting during which Ellucian made their pitch.
June 25th – Board meeting and vote.
June 26th – Ellucian starts interviews ITS staff for jobs.
July 10th – Ellucian offers jobs.
July 12th – Deadline for staff to except jobs with Ellucian.
July 15th – Transition to new staff begins.
July 29th – Ellucian staff on campus.
July 31st – Last day of employment for current WCC ITS staff.

Like I said, this could be the best move for WCC, but it seems to me like the kind of thing that, at the very least, probably deserves a little more time, with input from the staff who will be most impacted by the change. [One wonders what the experience has been like for those at other campuses that Ellucian has taken over.] I mean, we’re talking about a five-year contract for approximately $5.2 million annually… Again, this isn’t my field, but I have to think that the above schedule is a little aggressive for something like that, especially given that we, the Washtenaw County voters, just passed yet another millage to fund the activities of WCC.

Here, from MLive, are the details on the buy-outs that will be offered to WCC employees, should the the Trustees decide to move forward.

…WCC indicated all full-time IT staff would be offered the opportunity to join Ellucian’s staff. Those taking the buyout would get 12 months’ salary, based on the employee’s current salary, along with medical coverage for themselves and dependents for those who have more than 10 years of service.

Those with five to 10 years of service would get six months’ salary and medical benefits, while employees with less than five years of experience would receive three months’ salary and medical benefits.

Based on benefits offered in the severance package, WCC estimates the cost of the buyouts could be between $1 million and $2 million, depending on how many employees take positions with Ellucian.

WCC noted demand for technological services continues to grow, with a projected IT budget of $8.2 million for 2020 – a 25-percent increase from four years ago. The college projects to spend about $7.6 million on its IT budget for the 2019 fiscal year.

Ellucian would provide all current and future technology needs for WCC under the proposal. At WCC, that includes 3,500 computing devices, support for more than 450 software applications and maintenance of more than 250 virtual services.

…WCC noted Ellucian already provides the college’s enterprise resource planning system, Banner, which provides technology for key student, financial and human resource transactions. The $5.2-million price tag on IT services is all-inclusive and fixed, the college noted…

Speaking of the MLive coverage, this is one time that I’d encourage you to go over and read through the comments, many of which raise damn good points. Here, for those of you who won’t follow the link, is an example.

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40 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted June 11, 2019 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Do these things ever work out the way administrators say they will?

  2. Dogmatic Dolt
    Posted June 11, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Aloha, MM, I’m sure folks would much rather continue rattling about Russiagate and Mueller than try to deal with real events happening to our neighbors. As always, thanks for sharing local stories.
    Republicans doing what Republicans do best. Strip mining common resources for private gain. The Mlive article is extremely deceitful. The last line quoted states, “The $5.2-million price tag on IT services is all-inclusive and fixed, the college noted…” except that it is not “fixed”. As pointed out earlier in the article ” with a projected IT budget of $8.2 million for 2020″. The article states that the 2019 budget is 7.6 million. If there were actual savings, ie. the difference between the projected 8.2 and the 5.2, don’t you think they would unambiguously say so?
    I’m surprised there is no mention in the article about how much better off the workers will be working for a privatized entity. How much better pay and benefits they will receive, how by being part of a bigger organization there will be room for advancement and greater job security. Oh yeah none of that will happen. I wonder what my neighbor Andrew will do. He has nearly 20 years in with WCC in its IT department.

  3. Kat
    Posted June 11, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I may have read the article incorrectly, DD, but I thought they were saying the IT associated costs were anticipated to increase to those levels if they continued as-is.

  4. Dogmatic Dolt
    Posted June 11, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Aloha Kat, I find this Mlive article and the one I read at Mlive web site to be extremely confusing. In its June 4 article they claim there will be a $600,000 savings. But is that per year or over the 5 year life of the contract. They also casually throw out the figure of approx. 25 employees. We also here the figure 31, that is a variance of 20%. All privatization scheme’s are always mired in misinformation.
    My wife works at OSU. They privatized their IT a couple of years ago. From the faculty perspective of being a consumer of IT, it has been a disaster. She works on a satellite campus. They no longer have a dedicated IT person on their campus. The IT people are all “remote”, the turn around time on request have lengthened, and they are forced to rely upon student workers for help–totally inadequate.

  5. Dogmatic Dolt
    Posted June 11, 2019 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Aloha Kat, When I read the May 28 article on Mlive, they allege the $600,000 is savings per year. At the end of the May 28 article we get the real meat. “The driver for this proposal was not cost; it was the need to address the increasing technology requirements of the college, which grows larger every year,” Bellanca said. This will allow the contract to be constantly upgraded ie. more expensive. Since they are already budgeting millions of dollars more for IT in the future, you can be sure that “The $5.2-million price tag on IT services is all-inclusive and fixed, the college noted.” is simply the first part of the bait and switch.
    I wonder where the “remote” IT professionals will be working from. India ?
    The article does mention that those workers who choose employment with Ellucian will not be guaranteed positions at WCC. When I look at the Ellucian company web page they mention two places that it has workers. Reston VA. the site of the corporate headquarters and Bangalore. I suppose it could work, there is a Corner Brewery in Bangalore.

  6. Another Anonymous
    Posted June 11, 2019 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    In my personal experience, a staffing cut like this is often followed by a significant raise or contract renewal bonus for administration.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted June 11, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I remember when this used to be something that Republicans and Democrats actually argued about. Now, it barely registers, because people are too busy arguing about the Donald Reality (shit) Show. Trump’s worst impact was to prevent everyone from talking about issues that actually matter, you know, stuff we might disagree on, but might actually have a tangible outcome.

    When are we going to start talking about school and healthcare again? Having arguments over market vs. state solutions to real problems?

  8. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 11, 2019 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Obviously the other side of “Privatization is bad” is that privatization is sometimes a natural response to pools of workers that are ripping off taxpayers by barely working but accepting the nice paycheck. I don’t know anything about the IT department at Washtenaw but Washtenaw has a REPUTATION, from what I have gathered, over the years, for having more than their fair share of people who are the “I’d-prefer-not-to-Bartleby-type”.

    Any meaningful judgment about this particular situation would require intimate knowledge of this particular department. I think this flows into what Anonymous and I were talking about the other day, with regard to noticeable changes in the parties. The lack of back and forth outrage, we might have seen in the past, that would have been drawn along political lines is noticeable. Perhaps, the lines are being drawn with more regard for those who have caught onto the scams and others who have not. It feels like a pretty standard, if not old-school, response we are getting from Mark. Not sure if that is a good thing as a lot of American’s have no sort of access to many of the tax payer funded scams. (I meant job.)

  9. Dogmatic Dolt
    Posted June 11, 2019 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Aloha FF, “Any meaningful judgment about this particular situation would require intimate knowledge of this particular department.” This particular requirement is an excellent way to not have an opinion on an ongoing dynamic in our society. It does not seem to matter on any of the political ideas you do express an opinion on. In the end, you chose to ignore your own prescription and decide, ” It feels like a pretty standard, if not old-school, response we are getting from Mark.”
    You dismiss concern over outsourcing as protection for “tax payer funded scams. (I meant job.)”. While you do not express a bit of skepticism about the no bid contract being awarded to some one who you have no knowledge about. But you will spread a ” REPUTATION” concerning my neighbors without a single supporting piece of evidence. FF, to a dolt like me, it seems like you are not being very intellectually honest. But my dogma says treat your neighbor like you would like to be treated.

  10. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 11, 2019 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I did not mean to push a narrative that the IT department is less than excellent. I apologize, if it seemed like I was making that accusation, DD. They might be great…. I am quite serious about the reputation of workers at WCC in general. The rest of my comments stand.

    I agree with you. I am not in a position to make a judgment. Which is why I choose to not make a judgment. Part of the reason I commented was I was trying to give possible reasons for reasonable complacency in line with my conversation with Anonymous the other day.

    Privatization is not always good but sometimes it is necessary.

  11. christopher j rizzo
    Posted June 11, 2019 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    This is about the corporatization of America. It needs to be opposed virulently.

  12. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 11, 2019 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    “This is about the corporatization of America.”

    (Or not.)

    “It needs to be opposed virulently.”

    (Or not.)

  13. kjc
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    FF, it’s ok to STFU. Sometimes it is necessary.

  14. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    KJC,

    You are probably right. I probably should not have commented. I have no unique insight into that department. On the other hand, other people who have no unique insight into this particular department are not discouraged from commenting, so long as they take up the side of the workers–who may or may not be doing an excellent job.

    If I could do it over I would have not commented. Oh well.

  15. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Just curious: What is your underlying reason for telling me to STFU, KJC? I was just emphasizing a part of what Mark said. If you have unique insight into the department then please share. Or are you just on the side of the “worker” no matter what? Do you benefit from appearing to be on the side of these particular workers?

    Part of WCC’s reputation, as far as I have gathered, over the years, is that it helps getting a job there if you know the right people. A lot of jobs in this area seem to be bestowed onto others via old privileged boys and old privileged girls networks. Have you noticed that, KJC?

    I was trying to build off the conversation I was having with Anonymous the other day, which was about changes in the parties…The old pro-union (no matter what) mentality is sort of dying out, imo. I am sorry if you don’t find that interesting.

  16. Anonymous
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    I am not opposed to privatization of public services where appropriate, but I am not going to go down a road of maligning public employees, because I just don’t think that employee “laziness” is where the problem is.

    The problem is that governments make promises when coffers are flush, and then have trouble honoring them when coffers become empty. If a potential employer offers me a good wage and a solid benefits package relative to my education and skill level, of course I will consider taking that job. Who wouldn’t. But the people hiring should have had the foresight to think about how things might play out in the future.

    I think that debates about how tax monies are spent, the role of public sector unions, and costs and benefits of privatization of public services are valid. But falling into hearsay about “lazy” employees is silly. If employees are a drain on finances, shouldn’t we blame the people who offered funding to open up the positions (i.e. legislature)?

    Forcing a janitor at WCC to take the blame for state budgeting doesn’t really make sense to me. Even if he is a shitty janitor, it is hard to blame him for taking a good paying job that was offered to him (or her).

  17. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Again, I agree and I do not mean to insinuate that the IT department at WCC has a laziness problem. I have no idea as I have already stated. What I do know for sure, as a general statement, is there are departments out there that are rife with insane corruption on the individual worker level–and it is a problem. There is also an insane amount privileged old boy/girl networking in the Ypsilanti/ Arbor area, which serves to prop up, people within the particular networks of privilege–and that is a problem.

    My point has nothing to do with maligning a group of specific people. My point is that any discussion about fairness can’t possibly bracket these 2 realities, which actually function to create and sustain employment injustice that is probably more prevalent in Ypsi/Arbor than in most places, imo.

    It is related to changes in party dynamics imo…

  18. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    If the Janitor is shitty replace that janitor with a better janitor.

    If the person who is in charge of hiring and firing janitors does not first and foremost consider the quality of a janitors work then replace that person, who is in charge of hiring and firing the janitors, with someone who will first and foremost consider the quality of the janitors work.

    It is pretty simple. I am not advocating that we simply place all the blame on an individual who was lucky enough, through an unjust network of privilege, secured a decent job they do not deserve, over a better but less connected worker. It is interesting you mis-framed it that way, however. It is interesting because that mis-framing seems to actively frame-out of view any examination of the systems of employment injustice that might be at play.

  19. Anonymous
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I think we can all agree that different people have different networks which provide different levels of privilege. However, saying that there is an unjust network of privilege implies that there also must be a just network of privilege, unless you think that all networks of privilege are unjust, and that there is an objective method of determining who is a “better” worker. That could be the case if the work product was simply a physical item that is easily evaluated as to its promised qualities, but harder when one’s function is part of a team to the greater whole. Maybe one person’s unjust network is another person’s better developed sense of emotional intelligence?

    As for favoring workers over companies, despite what the Supreme Court says, corporations are not people. Corporations are legal abstractions designed to optimize distribution of perceived value according to the controlling entity’s mission and plan. From a corporation’s standpoint, workers have a certain value and expiration date. That’s all well and good, but I hope that you also recognize that workers (at least for now) are human and not a carton of milk, hence the term “humane”.

  20. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Yup, when I use the term “priviledge” here I am implying a built in injustice.

    Of course everyone who is human should be treated like a human…

    You are right, it is often hard to prove who is doing a good job and who is not. I will say I have “heard stories” about local college departments (not WCC IT) where it was not a matter of determining who was doing “good” work–rather it is a matter of protected (via unjust networks of privilege) employees refusing to do the basics of their job description….

    Privilege. Entitlement. Lack of respect for tax payer money. No respect for improving the education environment. Just paychecks and benefits.

  21. Dogmatic Dolt
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Aloha FF, I see you want to focus on the workers, and are resentful because employment seems to be, ” A lot of jobs in this area seem to be bestowed onto others via old privileged boys and old privileged girls networks.” These “privileged” boys and girls networks are controlled by Management. As with fish, so with any organization, the rot starts at the head. The “workers” do not make the hiring decisions. The “workers” do not choose who is disciplined or fired. It is like you think we live in some socialist paradise where the workers are in charge. As with all organizations, those at the top are prone to do things that benefits themselves. I would not be surprised (in fact it is almost expected) that when Bellanca leaves WCC, she/he acquires a six figure position with Ellucian.

  22. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    DD,

    Somewhat amazingly, I think you are misreading my intentional use of the word “network”. Network does not imply worker or management. Somewhat amazingly, you are also mischaracterizing me by saying I am placing some exclusive blame on workers. Participation-in and enabling unjust systems to function requires that blame to be appropriately shared amongst many different individuals regardless of their position in the network. I also think, in a very old school way, you are displaying some general worker favoritism and general animosity for management. It is almost cute, if not increasingly anachronistic. I think your general and perhaps ready made position is sort of dying out and I think there are reasons for it and it is reflected evidenced by changing party dynamics.

    My thoughts on this are not well formulated by I do find this push-back on my basic (even uncontroversial) comments to be fascinating!

    (Note: I am basically just highlighting one aspect of what Mark said.)

  23. Anonymous
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I think you neglect the possibility of the entity in charge of the corporation (in this case the Board of Trustees) asking for certain department performance expectations that are not realistic given the resourced provided to that department by the Board, whether by choice or circumstance. As an example, a shitty janitor could be a much better janitor, if only he had a better mop. However, the janitor’s supervisor, who has put in for better mops through his facilities manager, has not been successful in getting them, because the facilities manager has to choose between better mops or better light bulbs because his budget cannot accommodate both, and he chose light bulbs because that was a higher immediate priority with the staff and students. He’s asked for a bigger budget, but finance can’t provide him with more funds because the budget has to be readjusted this quarter to account for decreased student enrollment and tuition revenue, and more importantly, poor performance from market investments. So how is replacing the janitor with another janitor who does not have the appropriate tools to meet the expectations of the staff, students and Board going to change things?

  24. Dogmatic Dolt
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Aloha FF, I must again take exception to one of your statements, ” Participation-in and enabling unjust systems to function requires that blame to be appropriately shared amongst many different individuals regardless of their position in the network.” I find collective guilt to be unconscionable.
    Most of us participate in “unjust” systems, we do so because of compulsion, (everyone needs a job). I will agree that at some point one’s actions make you complicit in creating and maintaining “unjust” systems.
    Legally we have found Nazi concentration (death) camp guards to be complicit in that “unjust” system. Those inmates who were compelled to feed the dead bodies into the incinerators, not complicit. The death camps would not function without the guards or the Sonderkommandos.
    Blaming victims for being victims is common place in the US, particularly among those privileged enough to have not been victimized, or only very rarely. Your very old school views are the heartbeat of privilege.
    “If the Janitor is shitty replace that janitor with a better janitor.” This comment also demonstrates your lack of understanding of work places. What if the powers that be (ie. what ever the management is) wants that shitty janitor because it creates a constant source of friction and division among the workers. It is an extremely common practice.

  25. Anonymous
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I, for one, am happy to see some actual adult discussion of ideas on this site for a change.

  26. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Anonymous:

    I am not neglecting any possibilities. I think we can point to different explanations for poor performing workers and managers in different situations. Maybe what you said applies to this situation. I have no idea. If you do then please share your insights.

    DD: Workers are automatically victim class? I am so confused.

    Workers are so low in your mind that one’s with poor work ethic at the expense of others are not supposed to absorb any share of blame. I am so very confused by your statements.

  27. Anonymous
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    You keep on moving the bar. While it is very likely that a poor worker’s burden is borne by his coworkers, and somewhat questionable that an entire department is composed of subpar workers based on a person’s hearsay about a similar department in a completely separate institution, what is certain is that these sorts of non-local outsourcing decisions are based on cost savings that are far beyond what is possible even if a department was staffed entirely by A+ local workers.

    If one can get 24/7 service coverage by using workers in the developing world for less than regular workweek coverage by using American workers, then it really doesn’t matter what the quality of work provided by the current IT department is, as long as the replacement is adequate. Not stellar. Adequate.

    It’s a business decision, and as you probably already know, business is not really “making money”. It is the practice of allocating limited resources among competing demands to ensure that long term organizational goals are fulfilled as best as possible.

    As much as you seem to dislike government (gub’mint) institutions because they spend “your taxpayer money” recklessly, I hope you realize that if there ever could be an organization that includes citizen welfare as part of its mission statement, it would have to be a governmental one. There is (and shouldn’t be) such an obligation on any private entity, although certainly there could be a choice to include it.

  28. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Not moving “the” bar at all. I am not sure I am being read correctly although I have repeated myself several times. I said I am not and can not make a judgment in this particular case. I did however say that a judgment on this case would require real insights into the function / dysfunction of this particular department. I never really said I did not have insights into different departments at WCC did I? It wouldn’t matter anyway, imo, but I never said that…The reputation of WCC staff is certainly up for debate. I am just passing on info I have gathered over the years. Do you have any insights int WCC departments or this particular department? That would be useful.

    (I find it odd that there is so much pushback on he uncontroversial things I have said.)

  29. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    “As much as you seem to dislike government (gub’mint) institutions because they spend “your taxpayer money” recklessly,”

    That is a generalization I would not make.

    Only governments can have “citizen welfare” in their mission statement? I am confused. Sorry.

  30. Anonymous
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Any organization CAN have citizen welfare as their goal. Private organizations are not OBLIGED to do so, since they, by definition, serve a specific PRIVATE function. Government, by definition, serves a PUBLIC function. Therefore, IF one feels that there should be an organization that MUST serve citizen welfare, then that MUST be a PUBLIc organization, which is governmental in nature.

    However, there are plenty of governments that are structured or run to serve only a few people and not care so much about general citizen welfare. Dictatorships, feudal kingdoms, totalitarian regimes come to mind.

    But now you are just trolling.

  31. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry but it feels to me like I am the one getting trolled.

    Understand this: Just because I think you are saying weird things does not mean I am arguing for some position you imagine I hold. I don’t think all government programs are wasteful. I also don’t think all privatization is necessarily awesome. I really don’t understand the points you imagine you are making. There obviously governmental agencies that are actively degrade the welfare of the citizens. And the opposite too. There are obviously private organizations that actively seek to improve the welfare of citizens. And the opposite too. Not sure actual affect on the citizens of either public or private is a defining feature of either public or private. Even if it was definitional as you suggest: Who cares? Is there some place where I said we need to get rid of government because it inherently wasteful? Nope. Why would I think something so stupid? I wouldn’t.

    I apologize to everyone who has chose to read this silly back and forth. Please ask me to STFU again , KJC. I promise to do just that.

  32. Sad
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    You could just take a little vacation.

    It’s relaxing . And it’s almost summer.

  33. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 13, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    I just re-read and you did not say actual “effect” on citizenry was a defining feature of public/ private, as I suggested. I am sorry I mis-read what you were saying. However, I don’t understand how/ why you are trying to use the concept of “obligation to help the citizenry” as a necessary defining element of “public” and much less a necessary defining feature of “government”. I think it is interesting to think about “obligation” here, but I simply don’t get the point you are trying to make at all. I also don’t understand how it applies to/ or against anything I have said…

    Anyway, I am sorry I was being rude toward the end of my last comment. You presented some interesting ideas I just became frustrated when I couldn’t figure out how those things applied.

  34. Anonymous
    Posted June 13, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    This is what I’m getting from this thread.

    MM: The entire IT department is being outsourced at WCC to a private corporation without adequate discussion.

    DD: Adminstration at WCC is doing this in concert with Republican governance to decrease the number of government employees. Somebody will get a big bonus. The company that is going to provide the services is headquartered in Virginia and has another office in Bangalore. The promise of IT workers having possible employment with this company is an empty unrealistic promise.

    FF: I heard that, in general, WCC employees are mediocre workers, but know nothing specific about WCC IT workers. Privatization could be good if the WCC IT workers are also mediocre, because mediocre workers are there only because they have connections and don’t deserve their jobs. The solution to a mediocre worker is to replace them, especially if they are the beneficiaries of my tax dollars. Of course, I know nothing specific about the IT department at WCC, but I’ve heard stories about WCC workers in general.

    A: The issue at hand isn’t simply one of replacing a mediocre worker with a better worker. It is the replacement of the entire department, mediocre or not, with a solution that the former workers cannot be a part of. While that is an understandable business decision in isolation, the larger point for discussion is whether public institutions should follow the same guiding business principles as private companies.

    FF: I don’t understand why there should be a distinction between public and private organizations.

  35. Anonymous
    Posted June 13, 2019 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    In general, this thread has been rather pleasant compared to other threads. I think that should be considered a success.

  36. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 13, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Anonymous,

    This is a pretty good summary of what I was saying. Not quite. But good enough. I will offer a quote: “WCC is pretty much known for______ workers”. You should not fill in the blank with “mediocre” or “average”. Much worse. But that does not say anything about the IT department, for sure, which might be great…

    WCC ought to have an obligation, using your language, to be looking for and finding good RESULTS at a fair price. Insight into WCC IT is the first step into coming to any sort of judgment.

    (I repeat: I am basically highlighting one little thing Mark said, in response to the expressed support of THE WORKER, no matter what, mentality displayed here.)

  37. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 13, 2019 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I agree, Anonymous, I apologize for being a jerk, here and there. I don’t agree with everything you have said but you introduced some interesting concepts that helped me think about things from a different point of view.

  38. Anonymous
    Posted June 13, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    I think this site would be a better place if there were more discussions like this, where people can agree there is a problem, but might not agree on how bad it is or how to solve it and discuss the matter in a mutually productive manner.

  39. Anonymous
    Posted June 13, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    The ideal is always fair results for fair prices. But define “fair”.
    A private company can seek efficiency as an ideal goal, and indeed, many people would argue that in a corporation with multiple owners/shareholders, the one unifying consensus that would meet the desires of the owners/shareholders, is efficiency and its cousin byproduct, profitability.
    WCC is a public entity. While there may be a nominal controlling entity in the form of a board of regents/governors/trustees, these people are not true owners. Accountability, in the end, is to the general public. Should it seek efficiency? Efficiency and equity are not easily aligned, and for some, diametrically opposed.

  40. Taco Farts
    Posted June 17, 2019 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Rose Bellanca has a past.

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