Out of Control Policy Blog

Sheriff Seeks Outside Contractor for Jail Nurses

The Solano County Sheriff's office is looking to hire private sector nurses
to staff their county jail. They figure that the arrangement will save
between $300,000 and $500,000 a year. Beyond cost savings, they also expect
to get better service, since the county had a serious staffing shortage in
the jails -- inmates with non-emergencies were often left waiting to receive
health care -- bringing up potential legal liability too.

Despite the shortage and savings, the local union still can't get behind the
deal. In fact, in a rather strange twist, the local Service Employees
International Union (SEIU) which is usually against offshore outsourcing or
contracting with foreign firms, said that the sheriff's office "never tried
to bring in nurses from the Philippines" thus they hadn't exhausted all of
their resources.

I suppose that the difference here is that the nurses would be flown in and
become members of the local SEIU, raising their ranks of paying members. By
contracting with a very experienced firm the SEIU will actually see their
numbers go down slightly.

This certainly seems to be a case of putting union politics over the
delivery of effective and efficient services to taxpayers. Fortunately, it
seems that the County and the Sheriff aren't going to fall for it.

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