From Jeff Trimmer of Bel Air:
To the Editor of the Dagger Press:
The Harford County Board of Education is planning new ways to involve the public in the budget process. This process will lead to no substantial budget cuts. The Board of Education and the Harford County Government is incapable of making significant spending cuts. The ironic factor is that it does not matter whether the Republicans or Democrats are in control as neither party desires to cut spending as this decreases their power. Just look at David Craig’s term in office. The budget is greater today than it was when he first came into power. Nobody can convince me that every program that was already in place when he took office and any subsequent program he implemented is functioning well. However, programs are never eliminated. I am sure that when Barry Glassman assumes office, the budget will continue to grow.
The responsibility for solving the budget issues rests with the County Executive and the Board of Education. The school board and the County Executive should come together to resolve the issues. They need to work together and think outside the box and they need to find creative solutions. However, neither the Board of Education nor the County Executive is capable or desires to decrease spending. I would bet that neither of them could name programs that should be cut. The budget cuts they proposed in the past are miniscule and either inconvenience parents or increase costs to taxpayers, such as changing school bus schedules or pay to play. What this County needs is to reduce the size of government.
Here is an out of the box idea that will never see the light of day. I have submitted the idea to the Board of Education. I challenge the Harford County Government and the Board of Education to review every program and service to determine which of these services may be outsourced to a private company. I personally believe that other than police, fire, and teachers, any other service could be outsourced to private industry. I’ll come up with the first five.
• The circuit court and district court (not the judges, but the staff that runs the courts).
• Parks and Recreation
• IT support
• Electrical services
• Animal control
On the Board of Education side
• Janitorial staff
• School bus transportation
• Cafeteria personnel
I am not suggesting that the employees lose their jobs. The private sector companies should hire the existing staff, at least the good performing staff. This would result in a tremendous savings to the county as the county would pay a private company to manage these and other services. The county is no longer responsible for all the Human Resource duties and costs, including healthcare and the unfunded pension liabilities. The number of buildings would be greatly reduced and unused building and school buses could be sold or leased to the private companies now providing the service. If this is done effectively, both the government and Board of Education could be managed out of one building.
In case you are worried about a decrease in the level of service, this could be handled in the contracting phase as the government could stipulate in the contract that the private company must maintain or exceed the same level of service currently provided by the government. Also, in the contracting process a backup company would be chosen in case the selected company did not perform to expectations. It is too bad that this idea will never see the light of day as it may save enough money to provide teachers with the raises they desire.
Bel Air, MD 21014