NYC Wastes Millions With Consultants, Says DC37

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[New York City]

District Council 37, the City's largest municipal employees' union has blasted mayor Michael Bloomberg for what the union says is "massive waste" by spending $9 billion with outside contractors for work that can be performed by City employees.

The union criticized the outsourcing of services in a report known as a White Paper, "Massive Waste at a Time of Need."

Spending $9 billion out of a total budget of $60 billion is akin to wasting money on "an unelected, unaccountable 'shadow government' of private firms and outside consultants," DC37 said, in a statement by Lillian Roberts, the executive director. "Many are no-bid contracts."

The release of the report was accompanied by a massive rally outside City Hall last Wednesday. By just ending contracts with computer consultants and custodial and cleaning contractors alone, the City can save more than $31 million, DC37 said.

A spokesman for the mayor did not return a phone and e-mail message seeking comment, by publication time. 

"In the past, our White Papers have prompted the City to cut back on outside contracts, saving $175 million," Roberts noted. "But, since fiscal year 2005, the contract spending has soared by 36% from $6.7 billion to $9.2 billion."

"This vast abuse of contracting out is an example of the unregulated fiscal irresponsibility that has left our national economy in need of rescue," Roberts said. "This white paper also analyzes conditions that, in the past, led to cases of public fraud that still exist in several agencies. We recommend about $130 million in savings the city can realize by reducing outside contracts with over-paid consultants and utilizing civil service employees."

The union said there is no justification for the use of the outside contractors since there were qualified civil servants able to do the job "better and at a lower cost."

Moreover, Roberts said, the use of the contractors "undermines the collective bargaining agreement and the Civil Service System."

Specifically, the union said it had examined 10 contracts. "The City can save $21.6 million by ending contracts with computer consultants doing non-specialized technical work that can be done by computer professionals employed by the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications," Roberts said.

"The City can save $14.5 million by ending contracts for custodial and cleaning contractors and using job training participants in the Transitional Workfare Program. This would also provide these workers permanent employment and economic stability," she added.

The union said it was critical to eliminate "unnecessary costs and wasteful practices" especially in light of "the nearly $4 billion budget deficit facing New York City."

"We recommend about $130 million in savings the city can realize by reducing outside contracts with over-paid consultants and utilizing civil service employees," Roberts said.

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