Is Tennessee State Government Marketing Outsourcing for Corporations?

Nashville, Tenn. (May 1, 2017) –

Since taking office, Governor Bill Haslam has made outsourcing state government services a priority of his administration. The first major contract, valued at $330 million, went to a Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL), a company with financial ties to the Governor. The Governor’s assets are now in a blind trust, so there is no way to know if he still holds any investments.

It is now clear that Tennessee is something of a pilot program for outsourcing. This week, the National Association of State Chief Administrators (NASCA) will host a roundtable in Nashville on May 3-4. The NASCA highlighted Tennessee – and JLL – in a webinar and presentation about outsourcing facilities management in October of last year, months before the second major contract was awarded to JLL. Bob Oglesby, Commissioner of General Services, State of Tennessee and NASCA Executive Committee member, Herman E. Bulls, Vice Chairman, Americas, International Director, JLL are listed as facilitators.

NASCA has surveyed other states for this corporately sponsored event that will be held in Tennessee Tower, a government building. Terry Cowles, Director of the TN Office of Customer Focused Government announced this in a committee hearing in the Tennessee legislature saying, they are preparing to host 10-15 other states who are interested in learning about what they have done in facilities management. (VIDEO 16:10).

The NASCA 2017 Strategic Plan structure summary lays out work groups made up of NASCA members (state government employees) and corporate partners. It seems that the State of Tennessee and JLL work in that fashion, joining together to make presentations about the success of the Tennessee facilities management outsourcing, calling themselves “Pioneers.” The NASCA even created an award in 2015 for “Innovations in State Government.” The inaugural award went to the State of Tennessee, which they celebrated.

“Tennessee taxpayers need to know how much time state government employees are spending working with the NASCA doing what appears to be marketing for outsourcing public services to big corporations. Tennesseans should also know who in state government holds any investments in these companies. We know Gov. Haslam used his very first executive order to change the open government policy of Gov. Bredesen and has told employees to avoid using email for this subject. This whole outsourcing process has been suspicious. It has not been proven to save taxpayers money, and yet Gov. Haslam works harder for this than any other initiative in his two terms. Something doesn’t add up,” said Mary Mancini, chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party.