Birmingham—In a bizarre move that completely misses the point of privatizationthat poor performance can be fixed by firing a poor-performing private vendor and hiring anotherthe staff at Birmingham Ice Arena recently fired its private concession stand and pro shop vendors and replaced them with public employees that can't be fired no matter how badly they perform.

Arena officials say the private vendor running the two facilities "rarely showed up on time and when someone finally arrived to open the facilities, the service provided was poor." But instead of firing the vendor, according to the Birmingham Eccentric, "the staff decided to take that small slice of the ice arena back in the name of the citizens of Birmingham."

Because they are now happy with the service being provided, the ice arena staff consider the move a success. "Now people can actually count on the concession stand to be open when its supposed to be," according to Connie Folk, the ice arena manager.

What we'd like to know is: What will their options be in the future if the public employees running the concession stand and pro shop decide they don't need to show up on time or offer good service?