News on the privatization of prison food services from the Lansing State Journal:
LANSING — Officials said Tuesday they plan to privatize food service for 45,000 state prisoners, eliminating about 370 state jobs and saving more than $12 million a year.
The Department of Corrections will contract with catering giant Aramark in a three-year deal worth close to $50 million a year, department spokesman Russ Marlan said.
The state put the food service out to bid last year, but an analysis by officials from the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, and the Department of Corrections, concluded Aramark and a second company that bid would not save taxpayers enough money to justify privatization.
State officials reworked the numbers after concerns were raised by Republican lawmakers and found errors were made in the analysis, said Department of Technology, Management and Budget spokesman Kurt Weiss.
Nick Ciaramitaro, legislative director for AFSCME Council 25, which represents the state’s prison food workers, said he’s concerned “the administration is once again bowing to the farthest right wing of the Republican party,” and has improperly “massaged” the analysis.
“We want to see the numbers.” said Ciaramitaro, who added government layoffs are stalling an economic recovery that is under way in all other sectors.