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Tampa mayor amends privatization plan, saving 50 jobs

TAMPA — Mayor Pam Iorio has scaled back her proposal to privatize some city services, saving dozens of city jobs.

In November, Iorio suggested laying off 100 employees in part by contracting out janitorial and security work. But after crunching the numbers, city officials determined outsourcing the security jobs would save only $163,937 and the quality of services would be compromised.

So the idea, which would have resulted in as many as 50 layoffs, has been scrapped.

"This doesn't mean that you never look at it again. You always have to keep your business options open," said James Buckner, who heads Iorio's government efficiency program.

Iorio still wants to move forward with a contract for janitorial work. A proposed two-year agreement with United Services Group, based in Clearwater, would save $392,440 a year and result in 27 layoffs.

The contract needs City Council approval, but council members have given Iorio's privatization proposal a lukewarm reception, expressing concerns about laying off low-paid employees.

Council member Tom Scott on Thursday said he's not sure where he stands on the contract.

"That's a huge savings," he said. "On the other hand, will the company hire these 27 people?"

The contract is scheduled to go to the City Council for consideration Thursday, but the council requested it be delayed until mid July.

Darrell Smith, Iorio's chief of staff, said putting off a vote will cause problems with developing a city budget, which is scheduled to go to the council Aug. 7.

The privatization move is part of a larger cost-savings program. In addition to privatization, the program includes consolidating contracts and better use of technology.

Iorio has said the changes are necessary to save money in a time of reduced property tax revenues.

Smith said the program, including the janitorial contract, targets internal services that won't affect taxpayers.

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3401.

Tampa mayor amends privatization plan, saving 50 jobs 06/19/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 7:36pm]
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