Privatization Vernita Lewis Regis University Abstract Privatization is the transfer of enterprise ownership in whole or in part from state to private hand. In this scenario the potential privatization of U. S. National Parks, Yellowstone and Grand Teton, National Parks is discussed and outcomes of such measures are explored. The U. S. National Parks decided to conduct a study to explore how privatization of various park services such as; rangers and scientific work would fare. The studies were conducted in an effort to create greater efficiency, accountability and cost effectiveness.
Opponents of privatization of national parks urged that privatization of national parks would create a greater emphasis being put on the bottom line and not the good of the parks. Opponents chased legislation and collectively attempted to prevent privatization of national parks. Privatizing National Park Services Background The National Parks Service was established in 1916 by President Theodore Roosevelt and Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act. The National Park Service (NPS) is the U. S. ederal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. “The NPS grew out of concerns for preservation of public lands during a time of widespread plundering of Indian ruins, looting of Civil War battlefields and the degradation of historic buildings and sites”, (Scenario). Tremain states that, “Congress gave authority of conserving the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife in the parks and providing for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them nimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations (2003)”. In 2003 there was a 2 year study proposed to find out if privatization could be an effective means of saving the government money. This idea came upon the hells of the national debt increasing. The idea behind privatizing the care of national parks was that private organizations might be able to deliver the same quality of services more efficiently and would result in a 30% annual savings to the national government. Privatization, or sometimes referred to as denationalization or disinvestment, is the transfer of ownership from the public sector to the private sector. The term sometimes used to refer to a government subcontracting a service or function to a private team”, (Scenario). Proponents believe that “private market actors can more efficiently deliver services because free market competition will lead to lower costs, improved quality, more choices for those served, less corruption, less red tape and quicker delivery of services” (Scenario).
While opponents of privatization believe that certain social programs of government services should be off limits for the free market to “protect them from ruthlessness and unpredictability of the market”, (Scenario). Several environmentally friendly Third Sector agencies collectively explored the challenges that privatizing the National Parks Service would bring about. The study looked at two national parks in particular; the study looked at Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. Issues U. S. National Parks provide 1,800 people with jobs.
The concern or issue that arises is, will those 1,800 people lose their jobs to outsourcing if privatization of the national parks does occur? 123 of those jobs would be from Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks alone. Another issue that rises out of privatization of national parks is, how will the public be able to hold private organizations accountable for caring for the parks? Currently, the public pays for National Parks Services through tax dollars and appoints those in control to their positions through elections. That power might be lost through privatization. Proposed Course of Action
Scenario’s course of action The scenario’s course of action included the government applying a two year study that would examine the potential effectiveness of privatizing National Park Services. The government of the Unites States attempted also, to provide stakeholders with answers. The studies provided the following information, positions being considered included; ranger duties and scientific work (biologist would not be considered), archaeologist would also be considered. Employees could compete for positions, and scientific studies would not be allowed to be compromised during the study.
Alternative course of action proposed The government could be required to continue oversight of the national parks and acquire the responsibility of overseeing or monitoring the private organization selected to carry out the given task of providing certain park services for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. The government would have the private organizations interested in obtaining the role of providing private services for the parks provide the government with proposals that clearly define and outline their budget and have a clear plan of action.
The proposals would then be evaluated thoroughly by a committee that would evaluate the proposals. The private agency would be selected based on having the best plan and not just the cheapest plan. The chosen plan should also include a plan for keeping at least 50% of the current employees intact at the parks as a stipulation. The agency chosen would also have a limited amount of time, I would suggest 3-5 years, for their contracts to be active and upon expiration of the contract the bid would then again be open to other private agencies. This would assist in a checks and balances system for the government to have over the private agency.
If the agency doesn’t perform up to the agreed upon contract in a manner that is conducive for the national parks , then other agencies would have the opportunity to provide national park services. Gillroy suggests that, “The government would also clearly outline the expectation of high performance standards through making sure measurable performance standards are built into the contracts and sanctions or penalties for underperformance” (2011). The standards would include maintaining the preservation of the parks, continuing valuable scientific studies and, but not limited to providing current picture data when requested.
Alternative course of action evaluation The alternative plan of action would assist in the elimination of some of the concerns held by opponents of privatization of national parks. It would allow privatization, but would severely limit the power of the private agency and would still hold the government responsible for ultimately overseeing the preservation of national parks. Through limiting contract lengths, the private organization would not be allowed to sit back and just focus on the bottom line cost of providing services to the national parks, but make them accountable for the services they deliver.
This would provide taxpayers with the benefit of being able to free the public of an organization that does not meets standards set before them concerning the preservation of national parks. Best course of action “Modern civil society is the sum of institutions, organizations and individuals located between the family, the state, and the market, in which people associate voluntarily to advance common interest”, (Anheier, 9).
Using Anheier’s definition of civil society I propose that the best course of action would be to incorporate the government, private organizations and the citizens of the nation to create the best situation that will ensure continuous preservation of national parks. The Third sector has several organizations that have missions to ensure that the preservation of the environment ensues. The best course of action would be for the government to enlist the services of one of those organizations who could meet the performance standards and has a proven zeal for the environment to provide services for the national parks.
The government would still be responsible for monitoring the organizations work to ensure that performance standards are being met. The Third sector organization would potentially bring with it its own following and steady volunteer base and because the national parks aligns with its mission it will have a vested interest in ensuring success. Again the organization would be subject to a limited term contract that could be revoked or not renewed if standards and expectations are not met.
Through this plan of action the government would be responsible for providing supervision, while the Third sector organization would be able to further its mission and the public interest concerning national parks would be preserved. Anheier, H. K. (2005) Nonprofit organizations: theory, management, policy. New York: Routledge. Gilroy,L. (2011, April 4). Is privatization a bad deal for cities and states: competition brings savings. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www. nytimes. com/roomfordebate/2011/04/03. Scenario:The Privatization Scenario