Some ‘government workers’ earning CEO wages

JAZELLE HUNT | 3/10/2014, 7:51 a.m.
The CEOs of some private firms that have taken over government functions are earning as much as $8 million a ...
The GEO Group

These companies also tend to offer their employees lower wages and fewer benefits, compared to public workers doing the same job. Often, municipalities sign contracts with these companies that either do not make provisions for existing public workers, or make arrangements that result in layoffs and/or pay cuts.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 15 percent of the nation’s 6.7 million public administration workers are Black.

Most municipalities use some level of public-private collaboration to carry out public services; common examples of privatized public services include electricity, gas and health care. Property, sales and state income taxes pay for these services, and when a private company is hired to provide them, that private company is paid with tax funds.

In addition to disclosing the dollar amounts, the report highlights the companies’ relevant shareholder lawsuits, criminal investigations, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sanctions, and court settlements. Each firm headed by the top four earners has been sued, or investigated and penalized in the recent past, for harmful business practices and/or federal crimes in relation to providing public services.

The report is part of a larger project called “Outsourcing America Exposed,” which aims to raise awareness about public service privatization, and how it “hinders transparency and shortchanges taxpayers.”

“Business is in business to make a profit; there is nothing inherently wrong with that,” said Shar Habibi, the research and policy director at In the Public Interest, a research organization focused on privatization, and one of the Center for Media Democracy’s partners in this project. “But not when that profit comes at the expense of public health and safety. Not when taxpayers suddenly realize they no longer have control over their own schools, roads or water systems. And not when the heads of these corporations make salaries that are literally 200 times what a dedicated public service worker makes.”