County Government Case Study

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Case Summary The following case study details the account of a moderately large county government and the tenuous relationship between the county’s main governing bodies: the elected city council, the county executive, and the sheriff known only as “Ossman”; it should be noted that the sheriff’s office was separate from the police department and did not exercise law enforcement duties. At the time of the case, the county executive and sheriff’s office were known to be the most powerful and stable of the elected positions in the county with the county executive being the most visible of the elected positions; the county executive was also responsible for managing and submitting the annual operating budget to the council in May of each year.…show more content…
This ultimately resulted in his loss to a new sheriff, Joe Nesbitt, in the 1990 elections. Ossman was later indicted by a federal grand jury and accepted a plea deal that included a fine plus five years in prison. The same year, Nesbitt took over and jump-started the sheriff’s office by firing seventy of the office’s 440 employees, eliminated several positions and made budget cuts by cutting out a lot of the “perks” Ossman offered such as providing free meals to council members. In retaliation for losing their jobs, some of the former deputies coalesced to form a private company known as Warrentco, Inc. in an attempt to assume the service of issuing civil warrants via a contract with the county—a service previously provided by the sheriff’s office (Khan and Hildreth,…show more content…
However, this is not always the case. According to Kahn and Hildreth (2003), outsourcing can have financial consequences as “When a service is being outsourced some of the ‘old’ overhead is gone and is considered ‘savings’, while other elements of the old overhead are replaced with ‘new’ (p.66). This would be considered a short-term cost as the effects of switching from internal to external services may initially cost more administratively than it would be to have kept a service in-house (Nichols, 2010). A long-term cost to outsourcing could consist of an agency ultimately losing more money for a service due to substandard contracts, as wily contracting companies attempt to take advantage of their clients by overcharging for services or placing hidden fees. Additionally, agencies must also be wary of how privatization will affect the public as outsourcing can “erode accountability and transparency, and drive governments deeper into debt” (Nichols, 2010). The research reported above is consistent with other sources regarding outsourcing and appear to support the use of privatization
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