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Government The Almighty Buck IT

NY To Replace IT Vendors With State Workers 178

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-can-only-end-well dept.
dcblogs writes "New York state plans to replace as many as 500 IT contract workers with a new type of temporary state worker. The state estimates it can save $25,000 annually for each contracting position that is in-sourced. This is the result of a new law creating 'term appointments,' which strip away some hiring and firing rules that apply to permanent state workers. These term appointment workers are employed 'at will.' Term appointments can be up to five years and workers get state benefits. Proponents of this change said a state IT worker might earn an average of $55 an hour, including benefits, while the state pays its contractors an average of $128 an hour for workers in similar jobs."
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NY To Replace IT Vendors With State Workers

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  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:34PM (#31456036)

    Term appointments can be up to five years and workers get state benefits. Proponents of this change said a state IT worker might earn an average of $55 an hour, including benefits, while the state pays its contractors an average of $128 an hour for workers in similar jobs.

    Of course, some of that $128/hour the contractor gets goes toward employee benefits... and the cost to the state will be more than $55/hour including benefits...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:34PM (#31456042)

    They're called "slaves", actually. And "right-to-work" laws really mean that you have the right to be fired for no reason and have no recourse. Funny what happens when you let corporations write the laws in this country.

  • Re:Anti-Union (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <(dadinportland) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:39PM (#31456120) Homepage Journal

    yes, because instead of creating an environment of 40 hours being the norm, lets make everyone work 70 hours a week. That's a win~

  • by assemblerex (1275164) * on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:43PM (#31456184)
    If they hire IT workers who match the quality of most NY state workers, they will wind up hiring contractors in the end anyways...
  • Re:Anti-Union (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JDAustin (468180) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:47PM (#31456246)

    The fact remains that unionized government employees are paid 10-20% higher then private sector counterparts and have 4x the benefits package (about $9500 annual in the private sector vs 38k in a fed gov job). Many of the states who are bankrupt are so due to escalated costs of state employees.

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by natehoy (1608657) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:48PM (#31456260) Journal

    How so?

    If they were taking full-timers and laying them off then rehiring them as contractors (with no benefits) that's clearly illegal - it's a process called "conversion".

    But they are simply saying that jobs that are currently filled with a contractor will be filled with full-time "at will" employees now. Contractors are already "at will", and the contracting firm is (in theory) paid a lot extra because they can rapidly add or subtract resources as needed. You pay extra for the flexibility. Flexibility which, in this case, the state doesn't need as much.

    Now the state is saying "we have people that we know we'll need for 5 years or so. We can't hire them full-time under existing State terms because we cannot eliminate their positions when we don't need them any more, but it's terribly expensive to hire them for 5 years at about triple what they actually get paid." That $128/hr contractor MIGHT be getting paid $45 an hour with benefits. Their firm takes the rest.

    I can't even see the State union getting upset about this, these employees will likely be Union members, with the only exception being they have a fixed term of employment rather than "employed until retired or dead" like most State jobs. But it beats working for the contracting firm.

    About the only people I can see getting upset about this is, well, contracting houses.

    But the State is large enough that it really doesn't need the assistance finding talent, and the employment terms are long enough that people will still jump at the chance. I mean, c'mon, how many people in "real world" IT last more than 5 years in a given job? My record, after over 20 years in the field, is 4 years 10 months, ending in a layoff. I'm really hoping my current employer is "the one I retire from", because they are really nice folks to work for. But lifetime employment is nearly unheard of nowadays.

  • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy AT gmail DOT com> on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:59PM (#31456404) Journal

    If they are able to actually fire an employee without jumping through a million hoops, then they're more likely to get and keep good employees.

    It's not that all state employees are terrible, it's that they're just not accountable for their performance, and it's hard to stay sharp when you don't really have to answer to anyone.

  • by rainmayun (842754) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:01PM (#31456454)
    I think I have a pretty good idea of your philosophical leanings on the subject of labor law, but I'll say this anyway for other readers. "Right-to-work" laws should really be termed "opportunity-to-work" laws, because the economic theory is that by lowering the potential risks for employers, they will be more willing to take those risks. Yes, you have the "right" to be fired immediately, but without those laws you might never have had the job in the first place.
  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wealthychef (584778) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:06PM (#31456516)
    Interesting post. Because he complains that government doesn't obey the same laws as the rest of us, you assume he's conservative. Huh. Or was there something else that tipped his hand? I gave up labeling people a while ago, so I've lost track -- do good liberals nowadays not favor government obeying the same laws as the rest of us?
  • Re:Anti-Union (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:11PM (#31456586)

    The fact remains that unionized government employees are paid 10-20% higher then private sector counterparts and have 4x the benefits package

    In other words, the best and the brightest should be attracted into government positions. This is good for efficient government.

    Many of the states who are bankrupt are so due to escalated costs of state employees.

    Union wages were sustainable 40 years ago and have held steady or fallen since then. The real story is the collapse of the American economy through globalization which has led to lower tax revenues through reduced incomes across the board. A secondary cause of state bankruptcy is that taxes on the rich have been sharply reduced over this period.

  • Same old story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by surfcow (169572) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:14PM (#31456640) Homepage

    Management: IT is expensive - we can save money by OUTsourcing.
    5 years later...

    Management: IT is expensive - we can save money by INsourcing.
    5 years later, Go to line 1 ...

    Those of us who've been in IT for a while have seen this cycle through a few times. After much reflection, I conclude that there is no such thing as competent management.

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Miseph (979059) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:46PM (#31457154) Journal

    Fun fact: everywhere has serious problems, nothing is perfect. Of course, if you don't pretend that an improvement must lead to perfection in order to be meaningful, you start to see where maybe our system could be better.

    The important question isn't "does the alternative have problems?", much more useful to ask "would we rather have the set of problems belonging to the alternative, or the set of problems belonging to the status quo?"

    Capitalism sucks too.

  • Re:Anti-Union (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hazem (472289) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:50PM (#31457222) Journal

    Ever worked for a consulting company?

    If you go in and see that a company has a centralized structure, you try to sell them on decentralization. If they're decentralized, you try to sell them on centralization. If they out-source, preach in-sourcing; if they in-source, preach out-sourcing.

    Oh, and in both cases, we have just the products and the consulting teams to help you achieve a synergistic paradigm shift to streamline your enterprise and facilitate a win-win situation with end-to-end empowerment for your core team.

  • Re:Anti-Union (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Radical Moderate (563286) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:57PM (#31457330)
    God forbid that anyone but corporate execs make a decent living. And I've never seen that 10-20% higher figure before. Might be true now that companies are cutting back so much, but it's not the rule.

Arithmetic is being able to count up to twenty without taking off your shoes. -- Mickey Mouse

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