Contract Out Ketchikan Public Library
By Robert Warner
December 07, 2010
With the coming holiday season it is pathetic to note that Ketchikan city management continues its scheme to sell KPU Telecommunications, an organization that actually serves citizens well and earns a profit for the city. If sold, will we face sharp rate increases? Will we have to speak with an operator in India when we have a telecommunications problem? With telecommunications rapidly overtaking traditional books and libraries as the prime source for research and learning, Ketchikan still has the opportunity to develop and shape its own service to fit the needs of our citizens. This is a rare opportunity, especially for a small community like Ketchikan. To date KPU Telecommunications has a excellent record of meeting this challenge. Why can't the city manager start serving the public and answer these important questions before any attempt to sell this division takes place?
If city management is serious about reducing costs and improving services, why not consider privatizing and contracting out the Ketchikan Public Library? A growing number of cities and communities throughout the nation have used this approach to reduce personnel costs while continuing to maintain needed library service levels. A private contractor might also be more receptive to planning traditional library downsizing as telecommunications and computer technology increase their roles in providing information and educational services. Public agencies often have dreadful records of downsizing even when their services are no longer needed.
This community is moving in the opposite direction. We promote a quick selloff of a department with a bright future and growing need. At the same time we can spend millions on constructing a new buildings for a soon to be obsolete department that should be downsized. Should we be laughing at these stupid decisions? Things might not be so funny when these silly blunders start hitting us in the pocket book.
Robert D. Warner
Received December 03, 2010 - Published December 07, 2010
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