Democratic legislators on ‘fact-finding’ tour re Haslam privatization plans

Seven Fortes and University of Tennessee-Knoxville employees, members of United Campus Workers, spoke at a roundtable with Democratic state lawmakers Tuesday, putting faces and stories to the concerns about Gov. Bill Haslam’s possible plan to privatize maintenance and management of state-owned buildings, reports the News Sentinel.

“I believe the folks here at our flagship university know a thing or two about how a campus works,” said Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, D-Memphis.

Harris and Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, organized the event that started their “fact-finding journey” to listen to impacted workers across the state. The next stop is Nov. 3 in Chattanooga.

Lawmakers have heard about the plan from consultants in Nashville, but not from the people on the job and those are the people that lawmakers should hear from first, Harris said.

…State Rep. Joe Armstrong, D-Knoxville, who also attended, said the Knox County delegation discussed the possible plan on Friday. He said the proposal is not as far along as portrayed, but there are unclear answers. And being with the UT workers reinforced what he already knew about their dedication and concerns.

There is worry statewide, and these stories can be shared with all lawmakers so they have informed opinions before making decisions, Clemmons said.

“What happens in Nashville doesn’t stay in Nashville,” he said.