Saving Detroit: The Privatized Solution (Part 2: Employees)

By David Docekal, The Hypercapitalist


It would be arrogant of me to say I know what’s best for a city that I do not frequent, let alone live in. However I think my ideas hold water wherever they would be implemented. While I know I am providing broad strokes for problems that are not easily solved, it is important to remember that drastic change is needed and details can always be addressed later.


City Employees

People are generally hesitant to allow privatization to enter government affairs because of past experiences. I attribute this fear to the lack of quality regarding some individual contractors. Contractors that typically handle one service in a community, such as parking or trash removal are less likely to provide acceptable service. My ideas revolve around privatizing the entire city under one company. This would allow for the retention of current city employees. Police officers, Fire Fighters, EMS, Public Works, administrative staff, etc that already work for the city will keep their jobs. This would help the economy recover. With investment and tax funds, more jobs could be created that would restore the proper staffing to support city services. This is a critical step in restoring safety and order to Detroit.

Contractor employees lack direct involvement and accountability within the city organization. Detroit would have very little say or control of who the contract company hires to provide service to the citizens. Under my proposal, all employees would be directly employed by the city as they are now. This helps to ensure quality and continuity of service that residents should expect from their local government.

Regular surveys from city employees would serve to expose flaws in the system and where the newly-privatized city could improve those areas. Feedback from staff is vital for improvement as they know the ins and outs of city operations. Consultants will also be used (along with focus groups) but sparingly and only in-concert with employee feedback committees.

Compensation levels would initially need to remain at present levels in order to allow the city to enter an era of sustainability. Additional vacation time and company stock would be given out in place of additional pay for the first 2 years. The company stock given would not be allowed to be sold for a minimum of one calendar year from the date it was received. This helps maintain the stability in the investment pool. This is the same policy that will be implemented regarding the residents auto-shares for living in the city. Stock will be covered more in my next “Saving Detroit” post.

If sustainable, profit sharing will also be provided to the employees of the company.

Insurance will be provided by third-party services (at least in the beginning) for city workers. Bids will be placed and providers assessed for price and quality before implementing an insurance plan. The idea is to minimize the burden on individual employees. The money saved by the employees will eventually help the city economy by being spent in local businesses. This is why it is crucial to provide affordable healthcare in the early stages.

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