The Value of Nonprofits

In this editorial from the Sacramento Bee, we see the current value of using nonprofits to perform some aspects of public service which they might be better able to do than government (which we suggest could be applied to management of the Parkway) which in this case looks at the economic value.

An excerpt.

“Sacramento County workers have priced themselves so high that the public they serve is sometimes better off when county government bows out.

“The transitional housing program at the Mather Community Campus set to be taken over by Volunteers of America this week illustrates the phenomenon.

“In 1996, a voter-approved ordinance made it easier for Sacramento County to contract out for services to organizations like VOA. But that ordinance, codified as 71J in the county charter, also barred the county from displacing existing county workers with private sector employees.

“With the county in tough economic times and county workers facing layoffs, Sacramento County Counsel Robert Ryan has interpreted 71J and state civil service case law to mean that county workers can displace private sector contract workers in any job that county workers can perform. Displacement is permitted even if the county worker is more costly and less skilled and experienced than the contract worker, and even when county workers are taking on jobs they’ve never performed in the past.

“Armed with that interpretation, county case managers threatened with layoffs from county social service agencies last year were able to displace private case managers for formerly homeless clients at the Mather Community Campus.

“Because county worker pay and benefits were so much higher, six private workers had to be laid off to bring in just three county employees. Case loads at Mather immediately doubled and services suffered.”

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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