News release from Sen. Lee Harris and Rep. John Ray Clemmons
NASHVILLE, TN—Today, Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, D-Memphis, and State Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, joined the United Campus Workers on a telephone call with statewide press to discuss the status of Gov. Bill Haslam’s plans to outsource thousands of state jobs, including facility maintenance jobs at Tennessee’s colleges and universities.
“Sen. Harris and I didn’t come to our position on this issue in blind opposition to the governor’s plan,” state Rep. Clemmons said. “After learning about his intentions through media reports, we followed up on the public’s concerns with roundtable discussions at UT Knoxville and UT Chattanooga. These were well-attended, public discussions where people who would be directly affected were overwhelmingly opposed to Gov. Haslam’s outsourcing agenda.
“This is about jobs and families, and this governor has consistently conspired to eliminate the jobs of thousands of Tennesseans. By trying to sell anything that isn’t nailed down, Haslam has negatively impacted the lives of thousands of Tennessee families. There’s no proof that government will operate more efficiently, but there is a track record of failed attempts that have cost Tennessee taxpayers millions of dollars.”
It’s been more than a year since local media uncovered the extent of Gov. Bill Haslam’s massive outsourcing scheme. Extensive plans to outsource state facilities and building services jobs, shifting cost-savings estimates, and a timeline for execution were contained within the documents secretly shuffling back and forth between executive officials in the Capitol.
By all indications, the Haslam Administration is moving forward with its plans, despite widespread criticism of his backroom tactics by the public and massive opposition by affected workers, students and faculty and in the face of no evidence of cost-savings, and a lack of evidence that this specific plan would work, the administration is pushing full steam ahead.
During the call, Rep. Clemmons and Sen. Harris renewed calls for legislative oversight for large contracts that have historically been implemented unilaterally by the administration.
“It’s not enough for us to learn what’s going on with the government at the whims of the administration, public pressure from workers or at the diligent efforts of the press,” Sen. Harris said. “We need a real process in place for accountability..”