New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has created a taskforce to look at ways to privatize jobs to save money as he tries to find to plug a projected $11 billion budget deficit for the 2011 fiscal year.
Christie signed an executive order Thursday creating the five-person group to look ``at every aspect of the way government does business.''
Speaking on New York radio station WCBS, Christie said he's looking at privatization as a way around the "sweet deal'' former
Gov. Jon Corzine made with state workers union. Earlier in the week, Christie said he was wrong to think he could alter the new contract that allowed workers to keep pay raises and take furloughs in exchange for a no-layoffs pledge.
The contract deferred for 18 months the 3.5 percent raise state workers were due on July 1, 2009, and ordered 10 furlough days in exchange for a no-layoffs pledge through December 2010. State workers are now due that raise on Jan. 1 on top of the 3.5 percent they're due on July 1. The deal ends in January, halfway through Christie's budget year.
Bob Master, spokesman for the Communications Workers of America District 1, the largest state worker union, called the move to privatize "a failed tactic from the past that's based on an ideological hostility to government."
"The track record for privatization is very bad in New Jersey and elsewhere," Master said. ``You get a real deterioration of services and you don't save any money."
He points to Republican Gov. Christine Whitman's move to privatize some functions of the division of motor vehicles.
Whitman touted the privatization as a money saver. The state entered into a $300 million deal to privatize auto emissions testing, but the computerized tests, offered by a single-bid contractor with political ties, caused massive lines and delays at testing sites.
"It was a total failure," Master said.
Democrat Gov. Jim McGreevey undid that privatization when he took office.