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described as inefficient and full of duplication, and not about the current eligibility workers .thernselves. Stuart also rejected the argument that the project is proceeding with little public or legislative input, responding that the Commission and the project staff has been in “constant communication” With the legislative leadership. That may well be splitting hair.:, since both Bob Bullock and Speaker of the House Pete Laney sit on the Council for Competitive Government. \(In addition to Governor Bush, the other members of the CCG are Comptroller JOhn Sharp, ‘ General Services Commission Chairman Alphonso Jackson, and the TWC Labor Representative David Perduehimself charged by TIES supporters, flush with the gospel of privatization, insist there is no inherent contradiction in cutting costs while improving services. Stuart acknowledged that the computerization required by the new plan would certainly mean a “significantinvestment” on the part of any of the competing bidders, yet the law also requires that any new system installed must be cheaper than the current one. “We’re not going to embark on a program,” Stuart said, “that’s going to cost more than we currently spend.” \(Nor are any supplemental funds likely to be forthcoming from this Legislature or this cheerfully tossing out savings estimates of 10 to 40 percent over the current $550 million a year spent on eligibility determination. Asked where those savings will come from, Stuart answered bluntly, “The largeSt expenditures are in people and buildingsso you can expect that the primary savings will be in personnel and buildings.” PEOPLE ANDBUILDINGS There are approximately 500 offices across the state where 0,000 state employees work as “eligibility specialists” for various social service agencies. If the total includes workforce deVelopment per. sonnel, also likely to be directly affected by TIES, the number grows to 17,000. Cutting 10 to 40 percent of the costs underwriting those jobsin the guise of ending welfare by “putting people back to work”is a sobering prospect. So it’s not surprising that leading the fight against TIES is the Texas State Employees Union, joined by national unions such as the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the.AFL-CIO itself, which have lobbied against the program in Washington. TSEU, which represents about 10 percent of state employees overall, believes that TIES will be a disaster not only for social services programs but for the jobs of social service employees. TSEU lobbyist Travis Donaho describes TIES as “nothing less than an attack on the social contract,” and says the union will “fight it each step of the way.” Donaho called privatization “Bush’s boondoggle,” and said TIES “is not about efficiency or better servicesit’s about a few people getting rich off the taxpayers.” Last fall the union, joined by the public-interest group Public Citizen, lodged a legal complaint against eight former or current state officials who are apparently in a position to profit should the TIES prograni be implemented. The union charged that the officials \(including former aides to Bush, Sharp, and Bullock, and Commissioner McKinney himself, who volving door” law and conflict of interest statutes, through their previous or current involvement in the development of TIES. Craig 10 THE TEXAS OBSERVER McDonald of Public Citizen called for tighter regulations of potential conflicts of interest, and asked, “How can the publiC be expected to have faith that the $2 billion TIES project is in the public interest, when its proponents inside the government have bailed out of public service and now work for the very corporations who plan to profit from it?” According to Mack Martinez of the Travis County Attorney’s office, the investigation of the TSEU complaint, a joint project with the District Attorney’s office, remains open. He also said the statuteswhich theoretically bar officials from lobbying on .matters they once administeredare somewhat vague and therefore difficult to investigate and enforce. “There are several questions we have to resolve: What was [the official’s] role at the agency? Did it include work on [TIES]? If it did not include work on this issue, did they work on this issue anyway?” Whatever the legal implications, the prospect of welfare privatiza tion has gathered an impressive swarm of former state officials. Two working for Lockheed Martin IMS \(the subsidiary which specializes America, which has a contract with Lockheed should it win the bid; Lockheed has also hired other long-time TWC or DHS officials who appear to have had roles in developing ‘HES. Neither are Lockheed’s competitors without highly placed friends. The huge accounting firm, Arthur Andersen, is planning an independent bid through its sub sidiary Andersen Consulting; the head of Anderson Consulting’s Austin office, Warner Croft, is the half-brother of Gib Lewis, former Texas House speaker. Commissioner McKin, ney himself is an interesting case. In 1995, McKinney, a former state representative frOm Centerville, was listed as a lobbyist for EDS, and is the former medical director of the EDS subsidiary that managed state Medicaid claims. One of the teams bidding for the TIES contract includes EDS, Unisys Corporation, and the Department of Human Services. McKinney says he sees nothing unseemly in the scramble of private interests and former state officials to get a piece of the welfare action. He told the Washington Post in November, “I kind of think it’s a hoot watching them….If I were a big company, I would be looking at it as an investment.” An investment, of course, promises dividends. Lockheed spokesman Ron. Jury estimates that nationwide, states spend $28 billion a year on determining welfare eligibility alone, and the corporations want a percentage. Texas, like other states, insists that legislative safeguards insure that corporate profits will not come at the expense of welfare clients. “[The vendors] will have no authority over policy matters,” said Charles Stuart. “They will only to be able to apply the rules the state provides. There will be rio profit motive in cutting clients [or] reducing welfare benefits. They are being asked to reduce the dollars spent in determining whether the client is eligible. They will MARCH 14, 1997 “ANYONE WHO CAN’T OPERATE A [COMPUTER] KIOSK WON’T GET BENEFITS….FAST CUSTOMERS MAKE FAST PROFITS….THE TRICK IS TO MAKE CLIENTS GO AWAY.” TRAVIS DONAHO OF THE TSEU