March 21, 2016
Sen. Anthony Pollina issued the following press release on March 20:
Pollina Wants Jobs to Stay in Vermont. Opposes Outsourcing of Workers Compensation Jobs
March 20, 2016
State Senator Anthony Pollina (PD Washington County) made the following statement opposing the eliminating of the Vermont Risk Assessment Division and outsourcing of Vermont jobs:
The Shumlin Administration’s plan to eliminate the State’s Risk Management Division is just bad policy, and will result in the loss of jobs and a weaker economy with no real benefit to the State.
We need to bring jobs into Vermont – not send jobs out of Vermont. There are real costs to sending jobs out of State. The proposal to outsource Risk Management makes no sense.
I plan to introduce legislation to stop the outsourcing of these jobs until there is a detailed analysis of the real costs and any benefits, including impacts on Vermont’s economy and budget.
As Vice Chair of the Government Operations Committee I also expect the Committee will take a closer look at the issue now that out-of-state companies bidding to take over the work have been identified.
The Risk Management Division includes a dozen Vermonters, handling workers compensation and liability claims for state workers. Shumlin proposed eliminating the Division in this year’s budget.
The State has just released the names of eight private, out-of-state companies that want to take over the work now done by Vermonters. The firms are from Arizona, Tennessee, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maine and New Hampshire.
Remember, we are not eliminating the work. It needs to be done. But, the Administration is planning to hire people in another state to do it. No matter who is chosen, our tax dollars will go out of state.
It is just bad economic development policy. We create jobs somewhere else and end up with higher unemployment, less tax revenue and a weaker economy here at home.
Before outsourcing is allowed the state must show a savings of at least 10%. It is unacceptable if, as we expect, the savings come from reduced services under a private contract.
Our Risk Management Division is effective in part because when processing claims they know the workers, the worksites and the providers they are dealing with. It’s Vermonters working with Vermonters and you’re not going to get the same efficiency with a phone call from Arizona.
I am not aware of complaints about the Division. In fact, the Division workers are doing a good job despite the 2013 State Auditor’s report that found it under-staffed. The staff should be appreciated not eliminated.
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