Governor claims he has no bias for privatization

Bill Haslam says he has a bias towards saving money, not to privatization

Haslam told reporters that any decision is still months away on whether to proceed with outsourcing building management at the state’s colleges and universities, prisons, armories or parks. Haslam said his aim is simply to find ways to save money, and that criticism of his administration exploring outsourcing is misplaced.

“Everybody thinks, well, Haslam has some bias toward privatizing. I really don’t,” he said. “My only bias is how are we going to run this the very best we can for the very lowest amount of money.”

The usually even-keeled-to-a-fault governor even got a little fired up it seems:

Haslam said cost-cutting is a worthy goal at public colleges as tools for keeping tuition hikes in check.

“When tuition goes up at the universities and parents are saying I can’t take it, you all come here and stick microphones in my face and say what are going to do about it?” Haslam said.

The alternative is allowing wasteful spending to occur, he said.

“You ought to want us to be doing what we’re doing,” Haslam said.

Sep 18, 2015 7:09 AM

Inspectors wrap up visits to prisons. Were staffing numbers boosted during tours?

The American Corrections Association wrapped up its inspections of the state's prisons but were staff held over to give the impression the prisons were better staffed?


But information obtained by The Tennessean shows 14 officers were held over to work a double shift on Monday, during the ACA's inspection of the facility.A source also told The Tennessean an additional 20 on-the-job training officers worked an irregular shift at the facility, also during the same time as the ACA inspection.

Randgaard wouldn't confirm the specifics of the DeBerry schedule.

"However ... at each prison we hold staff over on an as-needed basis. That has not changed at any facility before, during or after the inspections," Randgaard said.

"OJT (on the job training) staffers are by definition, training on the job. This means they are at the facility at which they were hired, which could be any facility. They can be scheduled to work any post at any time. To put it simply, if someone is hired at DeBerry, Morgan County or anywhere else, that is where he or she will do OJT."

Sep 18, 2015 6:59 AM

Who else won and lost in the mayoral race?

Sam Stockard runs down the list of winners and losers (beyond Barry and Bone) from the mayoral race. Bill Freeman blames his lack of success on rain (Nashville had an inch of rain on the August election day, per the NWS) and Howard Gentry. 

Sep 17, 2015 12:27 PM

Jones Lang savings well under estimate

Jones Lang LaSalle's earliest estimate noted that privatizing the state's building operations would save the state nearly $19 million annually. The actual savings in the first year came in around $5 million

A slide prepared by JLL showed the "expected results" would be savings of $18.8 million a year -- $94 million over five years.

Last year, JLL official John Padgham told NewsChannel 5 that was only a reflection of industry averages.

"That was never the intent of that study was to say here's what you can expect," Padgham insisted.

"'Expected' doesn't mean expected?" we asked, prompting the JLL official to sigh.

After the state put the facilities management contract up for bids, JLL won the job after projecting cost savings this time of $13 million a year.

A big chunk of that came from slashing security on state buildings by more than 90 percent.

"That's not realistic, is it?" NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked Padgham.

"Uh, no, it's not," he conceded. "I don't think that will happen."

Then, when the contract was announced, JLL said it would save $50 million over five years -- in other words, $10 million a year.

"I think we'll get to $50 million," Padgham said.

But in a recent memo that Padgham helped draft that $10 million a year was down to $8 million.

Part of the reason, he wrote, was "due to buildings being in worse condition than expected."

State Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, scoffed at that excuse.

"We're getting lower estimates on the money that we are actually going to save for which we paid $1 million to know how much we were going to save," he said.

We showed Clemmons a chart offered up by the governor's office showing those savings are now down to $5 million a year -- a long way from the $13 million that JLL promised in its bid, even further from the $18.8 million it first said could be "expected."

Sep 17, 2015 11:15 AM

A Barry friendly council?

Megan Barry looks like she'll have a healthy majority on the council (Megtagnards?) but will reality match perception? And will there be anyone to stand in the breach?

Sep 17, 2015 7:13 AM

Charter school proxy war

Andrea Zelinski examines the fight about the book City of Thieves at Nashville Prep and whether it's really about the book or if it's really just pretext for shutting the school down

Sep 17, 2015 7:06 AM

State rep says correction officer arrested for being a whistleblower

State Rep. Mike Stewart says a TDOC officer arrested for bringing contraband into a prison — in her case, a cell phone with which she recorded an inmate brutally beating a guard — was arrested only as retaliation

Sep 17, 2015 7:03 AM

Barry transition team to be led by former rival

Bone leads group that's a 'cross-section of public, private and non-profit sectors'
Sep 16, 2015 4:13 PM

Class action could expunge records for 128,000 Nashvillians

A plan is in the works to expunge hundreds of thousands of charges that were either not prosecuted or dismissed on the records of Nashvillians as part of a class action. These records are already eligible for expungement but oftentimes those involved either don't know they can have it done or can't afford to take the time off work to go to the clerk's office to do it. Amanda Haggard with the report.

Sep 16, 2015 2:01 PM

Task force recommends nixing tests before second grade

Among the recommendations from a task force on testing established by Education Commissioner Candace McQueen: end testing for students before second grade.

Sep 16, 2015 6:30 AM