Mental health authority looks to privatization

SAGINAW — The CEO of the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority recommended the privatization of its Community Ties North and Community Ties South facilities as a way to save the county $1.1 million annually, according to The Saginaw News. The facilities offer day care and training for the developmentally disabled. CEO Sandra Lindsey recommended that the authority contract with Michigan Community Services Inc. to operate the two facilities, The News reported.

In response, union officials representing the current employees made concessions that would save $700,000 annually. Concessions included switching some full-time employees to part-time, reducing the number of paid holidays and offering early retirement.

Lindsey stated that contracting out is unlikely and that the authority will be exploring other cost-cutting alternatives.

However, the authority did contract out for its skill building and transportation services, which is expected to save $4.47 million over the next three years, according to The Swartz Creek News. "My two most important responsibilities are providing the best possible services for our consumers and managing the long-term fiscal stability of the organization. Outsourcing the skill building program is really the only way we can do both," Lindsey told The Swartz Creek News.

References: The Saginaw News, "Outsourcing ‘the right decision,’" Aug. 31, 2007 The Swartz Creek News, "Firm lands contract with Saginaw County," Oct. 28, 2007