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Friday, September 19, 2008

Trenton could outsource inspectors

A proposal to outsource city inspection work to private firms had leaders of one of the city's local AFSCME unions convening an emergency meeting Friday, according to someone who was briefed on the situation.

The scheme, which would put numerous city residents out of work, was apparently made public by officials from the Douglas H. Palmer administration sometime this week, as they seek across-the-board, 10 percent budget cuts in all departments to address a $28 million budget deficit that promises to hamper government services.

Apparently the administration has decided that the recent layoff threats, a first for the 18-year-old Palmer administration, mean the fiscal axe will fall on city inspectors who could see their city jobs outsourced to some sort of private inspection firm.

The magnitude of cost savings associated with such a move remains to be seen, but given the fact that many inspectors live within the city's borders, eliminating the positions would further reduce the amount of people with decent-paying jobs and good benefits living in Trenton.

The Palmer administration frequently relies on outside, private help for many city services.

Legal contracts that frequently add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars are handed out quite freely by Mayor Palmer, despite the presence of a perfectly good, and very expensive in-house legal team.

Another budget casualty could be the city's valuable branch libraries, which library officials have decided to close due to the budget constraints being imposed by Mayor Palmer and his officials.

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