Thursday, July 27, 2006

Roob's Former Employer Will Have To Wait Until Year's End for Payoff--If Then

The Daniels administration is further delaying Mitch Roob's plan to hand over administration of most of the agencies' welfare programs to a group of private contractors, including ACS, where he worked as a vice president immediately prior to joining the administration as FSSA Secretary. The AP's Ken Kuzmer writes:

The lengthened timetable is a setback for FSSA Secretary Mitch Roob's plan to solve problems with fraud, waste and delays in awarding benefits by outsourcing the system to private vendors.

Some critics of the plan, however, have questioned whether Roob and FSSA were rushing into privatization and risked repeating other states' mistakes. North Carolina this month canceled a five-year, $171 million deal to create a new Medicaid billing system because it said the contractor, Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services Inc., failed to meet its deadlines.

Affiliated, where Roob was a vice president before taking over FSSA last year, also is part of the IBM team that's negotiating for the Indiana contract. Roob said he has no remaining financial interest in Affiliated.

Roob and FSSA began soliciting interest from IBM, Affiliated, Bermuda-based Accenture Ltd. and other companies last year and had planned to begin turning work over to the winning bidder this month. Then Daniels announced in May that he would make the decision on the contract and appointed a team of top aides from agencies besides FSSA to review the plan. He has already given them more time for the review.

The "review team" Daniels created to give the appearance that Roob is not involved in the decision-making is expected to complete its work within the next few weeks according to Daniels. "I would like to see us begin the transition, certainly, this year," Daniels said. "... Then again, it's more important to get it right than to get it quickly. That's why I had the special review, that's why I gave them an extension, and I'll give them another one if they need it."

The Governor said, "Our food stamp error rate is high, our recovery rate is terrible, and we've had fraud problems. ... So I would think that [USDA] would be pleased at the prospect of reform, but they'll take whatever time they'll take." So what the hell has Mitch Roob been doing for the past 18 months to clean this mess up--other than trying to outsource everything to private contractors?


Anonymous said...

Has this crowd ever met a public function they won't privatize? Some things are best handled by the public sector. If it's broke fix it, don't trasfer it.

I have come to the conclusion these folks distrust government so much they're going to buy it. And run it into the ground, but at least doing so at a profit to their buds.

If you need any more proof check this: Al Hubbard, former local businessman, detests big government. Railed against it forever. But he uses the SBA to help him buy up bankrupt companies. So evidently he hates big government only if it isn't helping him.

And he's the president's chief economic adviser.

Game, set, match. Philosophical consistency isn't in their vocabulary.

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with privitization.

Problems with the state's system did not form over the past 18 months. They are deeply embedded in the fabric of state bureaucracy. Give the work to a company that cares about the bottom line because if they don't reduce costs, fraud, and waste, then they won't make any money at all. It's the best way to ensure that our taxpayer funds are used efficiently.

If government employees weren't asleep at the wheel all the time, working their 8 hours per day, NO MORE, mind you, and counting the time until their pensions vest (why the heck are we funding their retirements!), then there would be no need to look to private contractors.

Anonymous said... may have a point. Privatization is one tool that can be used, but it doesn't apply well, as a business model, to an agency like this.

But the whole state worker lazes around argument is a little lame. I know a lot of workers at FSSA, and they're trying hard, in a difficult system.

And the Mitch-Mitch hookup is a little too surreal for me. Didn't Roob's wife used to do the halftime shows for IU basketball games? She was just a little too perky for me.

Maybe both Roobs need slapped around a little.