CMS Privatization Advisory Committee Recommends More Outsourcing

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education received the first report from its Privatization Advisory Committee on Feb. 14, which recommended that the district consider expanding some outsourcing of custodial functions and explore outsourcing some functions of information technology as well as privatizing payroll.

The Privatization Advisory Committee was created in April 2011 to review ways the district could benefit from managed competition, outsourcing and consolidation of services. The committee has nine members, with each Board member appointing one, and has met nine times since convening in August.

Five CMS service areas have given presentations to the committee: custodial services, Child Nutrition, transportation, payroll and information technology. Doug Bean, formerly director of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Department and a key player during the city’s privatization effort in the 1990s, also met with the committee.

The committee recommended to the Board that outsourcing of custodial services be expanded to cover all administrative sites. At present, four administrative sites receive outsourced custodial services; the committee recommends outsourcing for six new administrative sites scheduled for use during 2012-2013. No CMS employees would be affected. The staff estimates that it saves about $110,000 per year for the four existing sites. The committee will evaluate expanding outsourced custodial services at a pilot group of schools.

The committee also recommended to the Board that a Request for Proposal (RFP) be issued for outsourcing payroll services, which would likely result in a reduction of CMS payroll staff. The committee said that an RFP would allow the district to learn the market cost of payroll services.

The committee also recommended that exploration of outsourcing information technology continue, saying it does not yet have sufficient information to make a recommendation but believes there are opportunities for outsourcing that could improve service and save money.

The committee is chaired by Robert E. Harrington. The other eight members are Joan Belk, Sylvia Grier, Barry Hall, Michael Murdock, Kathleen Rose-Bellot, Cassandra Tydings, Susan Walker and John White.