Privatizing Chicago’s 311 non-emergency center is a bad idea on many levels. Requests from a street light out to an open hydrant all run through 311. It’s a significant cog in the wheel that makes Chicago go. History has shown that privatizing a city department ends up doing more harm than good.
Look at Chicago’s information technology deal with Unisys, which gives $12 million a year to a private company in Pennsylvania. When something breaks on the 911 floor, I must call a center in Utah to generate a work order so they can call the IT workers on the second floor of our building. This is done across the city in every department, and when emergency service equipment breaks down seconds matter.
Last year Unisys compensated its CEO $10 million and yet we are talking about laying off 60 people who make $40,000 to save $1 million? There is little doubt a Request for Proposal will come back from any company in Illinois, hence losing taxpayer money out of the state.
Efficiency will drop, as it has for every other privatization effort. When 311 call times go up, people will do what they did before and call 911. This will increase the wait time for true emergencies across the city. We talk about long-term investments in city infrastructure yet for this the cost is too high? This is the perfect project to invest in to keep a vibrant middle class and a city department that is one of Chicago’s key arteries working for the citizens.
Jeff Johnson, president of the Municipal Employees Society
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Kentucky clerk still doesn’t get it
So Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis is ready to return to jail for refusing to do her job. I say grant her that wish. God may be her highest authority, but the State of Kentucky (or Rowan County) gives her a paycheck. The people elected her to do a job, not to spout her version of the law. Though the federal government has laid down the law on same sex marriage, it will be years before the Kim Davis’ of the world fall to the wayside, and the LGBT community can get a little respect.
Scot Sinclair, Gurnee
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