NASHVILLE — The Tennessee State Employees Association is urging higher education leaders and heads of other state government entities to "opt out" of the Haslam administration's state-wide building outsourcing contract with Jones Lang LaSalle.
"The bottom line is the administration has not produced enough long-term data for anyone who is responsible for a major state or higher education facility to make a well-informed decision," TSEA Executive Director Randy Stamps said in a statement.
In his letter to university chancellors and community and technical college presidents, Stamps said "we are currently working with state legislators to obtain a true measure of any cost savings outsourcing may achieve. We hope you will allow that process to move forward before entering into any further contracts with outside vendors."
Stamp's comments came in advance of Friday's scheduled legislative study committee hearing on the administration's outsourcing push.
The panel was created to look at a bill sponsored by Sen. Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma, and Rep. Tilman Goins, R-Morristown, that seeks to bring oversight, legislative involvement and more transparency to how Tennessee contracts for goods and services.
Pointing to a Times Free Press article in which JLL acknowledged its costs for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga exceeded UTC's own expenses by $263,217 in the first year, Stamps said in his statement that "UTC's current costs casts more doubt on the administration's already questionable cost savings claims, which were the primary selling points of their entire plan."
At several other UT System campuses, including UT-Knoxville, JLL said its figures show there are cost savings for universities using the Chicago-based real estate giant's services.
Stamps, however, called them "questionable cost savings and the fact that the majority of state legislators, many local council members, a host of affected groups and state employees oppose this plan, we urge the facilities considering this contract to opt-out."
Andy Sher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-255-0550.