The Public Policy of Privatizing Code Enforcement

The concept of privatization of code enforcement has emerged as a potential alternative model to the traditional form of municipal service across the country.  Inarguably a more efficient and cost-effective way to operate government, privatization is the process of allowing the private sector to perform functions of traditional civil service-based government. Privatization is designed to offer a seamless way by which any level of government can provide enhanced service to the general population. By harnessing resources normally associated with the private sector, public entities derive the benefit of having access to a host of professionals, new technology and progressive processes and methodologies not normally associated with public service.  In this model, contracts are awarded in a process of open competitive bidding, which allows private bidders to compete for the ability to assume government functions, responsibilities and activities at a cost-effective price. In other words, governments are not strapped with the overhead, staffing and equipment costs (to name a few) that are normally associated with providing traditional public services.

One stakeholder group that is affected by new privatization policies is the political leadership in a community whose responsibility it is to act in the best interest of the community. Their fundamental job is to support the citizenry, yet their ethical perspective is often challenged in matters of privatization because it essentially counters the concept of public service. The citizenry, as a stakeholder group, has a “right” to efficient and effective public services, and to ensure that elected officials are cohesive in the efforts when implementing change to these services.

Frankly, the largest issue that has the greatest effect on the use of privatization to provide code enforcement services, is the desire of the elected body. Despite the greatest efforts of the constituencies, if there is a concerted effort to maintain status quo, unfortunately, the status quo remains. Today, global communities exist within a complex and competitive environment. Since municipalities throughout the nation aspire to cut costs while maintaining a manageable level of service, each organization is tasked with ensuring that the social responsibilities of this new public policy embraces a broad range of residents with a myriad of cultural and practical needs.

Published by Marcus Kellum

Emerging Leader and Consummate Professional.

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