Tennessee lawmakers consider outsourcing state jobs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Many Tennessee lawmakers hope to see if outsourcing some state jobs actually saves taxpayers money.

It’s been a controversial topic since Governor Bill Haslam began implementing the idea a few years ago, but questions heard Wednesday at a legislative hearing remain the same – does outsourcing save taxpayers money and is there accountability?

They are major questions that came up during the subcommittee meeting of the Tennessee State Senate Finance Ways and Means Committee. Several of its members were among the 75 lawmakers of both parties who sent a letter to the governor urging his administration to slow down on outsourcing until there’s more information if it’s working.

Various state facilities around the state, including the maintenance of the capitol grounds in Nashville, have already been outsourced. There are also plans to expand outsourcing in the maintenance of state university and college buildings.

One of those testifying before the subcommittee was Randy Stamps, executive directive of the Tennessee State Employees Association.

“I know there can be a philosophical difference about what state services should be outsourced and which ones should not,” Stamps told lawmakers. “We need to take a pause and make sure that what we are already outsourcing is actually saving taxpayer dollars.”

Senator Steve Dickerson, who chaired the subcommittee, plans a push for those answers and more oversight from lawmakers.

“I would like to look back a year or two or three and make sure that some of the promises the private vendors have made are actually being kept,” the senator said. Dickerson indicated there could be legislation next session to help do that.

Earlier this month, Gov. Haslam backed away from the idea of turning over state parks to a private operator, but indicated it might be revived by the next governor after he leaves office in 2019.

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