Based on our blog posts earlier this year defending the scrutiny of the privatization of state services that is provided under the Pacheco Law, I’ve been asked to present a defense of the law at an upcoming forum sponsored by the Boston Bar Association.
Arguing in opposition to the Pacheco Law at the January 7 forum will be Charles Chieppo, a senior fellow at the Pioneer Institute, one of the state’s leading proponents of privatization and leading critics of the Pacheco Law.
Also participating in the forum will be two presenters from the State Auditor’s Office, which administers the law, and Michael LaGrassa, assistant vice chancellor for administrative services at at UMass Dartmouth.
The Pacheco Law has borne the brunt of much bad press and political criticism over the years; but we have argued that most of that criticism has been based on misinformation about the intent of the law and what it actually does.
The law requires a state agency seeking to privatize services to compare bids from outside contractors with a bid from existing employees based on the cost of providing the services in-house “in the most cost-efficient manner.”
If the state auditor concurs that the proposed contract is less expensive and equal or better in quality than what existing employees have proposed, the privatization plan will be likely to be approved. If not, the auditor is likely to rule that the service must stay in-house.
Earlier this year, in the wake of a critical report about the Pacheco Law by the Pioneer Institute, the state Legislature suspended the law’s provisions for three years with regard to the MBTA.
While the Pacheco Law does not appear to have had a role in preventing the past privatization of human services, which we are primarily concerned with, we are concerned that the Baker administration’s next step might well be to exempt future privatization of human services from the law.
At Blue Mass Group, where we often cross-post our blog posts, I and other commenters have already engaged in quite a bit of online debate (here and here) over the Pacheco Law with Greg Sullivan of the Pioneer Institute. I’m looking forward to continuing to set the record straight about this important law at next month’s forum.