Letters to the editor

Private vs. public

Don't privatize the EMS services. Why? Because it will cost more than doing it "in-house" with local people. This is how privatization works. I was an experienced software developer for the state of Michigan with over 20 years experience at the time. Along came a GOP governor who declared that we "had" to privatize - because it was cheaper. We spent weeks interviewing companies like Compuware and EDS. This time was not considered into the cost of privatizing. On a small project, my boss and I estimated, as we had done for 20 years, that it would cost around $100,000 to complete if done in-house. The governor said no and accepted a privatized bid of $1 million. Yes, $1 million! When we protested we were told to keep our month shut or lose our jobs.

The next project was much bigger and would take over five years to complete so I needed to hire computer programmers. Normally I would interview the top IT graduates from Michigan State University and our local community college, as well as candidates from local major employers such as GM and Ford to obtain the best programmers. It would have cost around $25-$35 an hour (with benefits) to hire these programmers.

I was told that I had to use the "privatization" people. It cost me $65 an hour for a programmer thru CompuWare. The East India contractor actually made $35 an hour - tax free. This went on for three years. At the end of the three years the contract was shifted to EDS where the same exact employee now cost me $95 an hour.

All this was rolled into "the bid" so most people never knew the actual hourly cost of things like staff, offices, training. In addition, we had to send them to training, furnish offices, computers and training at our expense because this was not included in the bid. Just consider this: If a private company can do the "exact same job" and make a profit, then our local government can do the same job cheaper because they don't need to make that profit.

Roger McAllister


LP Bell-ringers

I was a little upset at the letter by Cliff McDonald saying ban Salvation Army bell ringing on Interlake Boulevard in Lake Placid. This has been going on for years and not only in Lake Placid, but many cities set up on major roads collecting money all over this country. Many of our local residents volunteer to ring at locations throughout Lake Placid along with the Rotary Club of Lake Placid and the high school Interact Club. The police chief was ringing the bell on Interlake, so I am sure he is in full support of this endeavor.

Mr. McDonald, I think you should reconsider your thought as over $10,000 was raised and will be put to good use in our area for the needy. Thank you, all you bell ringers, for what you did.

Skip Dent


Rotary Club of Lake Placid