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Carcieri continues push for privatization

After getting manhandled on the privatization issue by the General Assembly during the end of the last legislative session, Governor Carcieri appears to be playing hardball. As the ProJo reported yesterday, his administration has hired Hurley of America to replace scores of housekeeping employees at Eleanor Slater Hospital.

The move, announced [Wednesday], will save taxpayers an estimated $13 million over the life of the five-year contract, according to the governor’s office. And it will jeopardize an estimated 80 state jobs — primarily union janitors and housekeepers at the hospital’s Zambarano Unit in Burrillville and Cranston’s Pastore Complex.

What's wrong with millions in savings?

While the administration estimates saving approximately $13 million over the life of the contract, legislators and union officials are skeptical.

The numbers don’t include federal dollars that help finance the positions, according to Rep. Edwin R. Pacheco, D-Burrillville. Nor do they take into account the burden of eliminating dozens of jobs.

“You’re talking about putting people out of work — paying for their health care, their unemployment,” Pacheco said. “And people tenured are simply going to transition into new positions. Where are the cost savings?”

The administration and legislature disagree, meanwhile, on whether the governor has the legal right to make this move, and the matter appears bound for the courts.

We all know that Rhode Island's state government needs to operate more efficiently. Is it too much to ask for the gov and legislative leaders to get together in shaping a plan?

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