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Hall committee to analyze outsourcing

Commissioners may consider private-sector companies to save money

POSTED: March 14, 2011 12:46 a.m.

A Hall County committee will be meeting regularly to research options for privatizing and outsourcing county functions.

Interim County Administrator Jock Connell assembled the group after several commissioners asked him to look into privatizing some county departments.

Some commissioners believe the county may be able to save money by having some county business conducted by companies in the private sector.

Connell appointed Planning Director Randy Knighton to head the committee.

"I want to emphasize I have not asked or tasked Randy with the mission of going out and privatizing or outsourcing anything," Connell said. "I have asked him to go and look at things such as what are we doing, what are the services we're providing, what's our cost structure and things like that."

Knighton said the committee will be assessing the planning, building inspections, parks and leisure, and public works departments.

Knighton said the committee will "examine current departmental functions and evaluate other cities and counties that are engaged in privatized activities and then assess the feasibility of privatizing aspects of county activities by evaluating customer service effectiveness, efficiency and cost analysis."

The committee has met twice so far and plans to continue meeting on a weekly basis.

"Each team member has begun working on providing detailed listings of the responsibilities and functions of each department as they currently exist," Knighton said. "This seems to be somewhat simplistic, but in order to lay the groundwork for where we want to go, we have to have a full and complete understanding of these departmental functions and activities. "Based on local state and/or federal ordinances from year to year, our departmental functions and responsibilities may be changed or modified."

The committee estimates completing its study in 90 days.

"The final document which we hope to produce will include detailed assessments and evaluations, potential cost analysis and recommendations to Jock and ultimately to the board," Knighton said.

Connell said once the commissioners have all the information, they can discuss the issue of privatization and outsourcing further.

"Let's do an objective look at it and provide the board with analytical data so they can make the best decision for the benefit of the county," Connell said.



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