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Contracting Back In

New survey evidence shows that public officials are finding that privatization has its limits. While contracting out continues to be widely used by many local governments, the practice of "contracting back in" - where governments choose to resume in-house production following a period of privately produced service - is becoming increasingly common. The following are cases of local governments bringing previously contracted work back in-house.

The cases are drawn from International City/County Management Association Survey Data of municipalities reporting a change from contracted services to in-house provision from 1992-1997. The cases are based on interviews conducted by Michael Ballard while working on a joint research project with Mildred Warner, Assoc. Professor of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University, and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees. The interviews were conducted in Summer of 1999.

Place: Service category:

Competitive bidding: Failed contract:

Place Service(s) Competitive bidding Failed contract
Akron, Ohio Road Repairs No No
Ardmore, Oklahoma Waste Water Treatment Plant No Yes
Campbell, California Buildings and Grounds Maintenance No Yes
Charlotte, North Carolina Paratransit Service Yes Yes
Cincinnati, Ohio Yard Waste Yes No
Columbus, Ohio School Grounds Maintenance No Yes
Fort Collins, Colorado Paratransit Service No Yes
Fort Lauderdale, Florida Infrastructure Pipe Installation Yes No
Independence, Iowa Grass Mowing Yes Yes
Independence, Iowa Laundry Services No Yes
Irvine, California Seniors Meal Program Yes Yes
Irvine, California Seniors Care Management Yes Yes
Lakewood, Colorado Winter Street Sweeping No Yes
Lubbock, Texas Residential Trash Collection Yes Yes
Marshalltown, Iowa Veterans Home Food Service No Yes
Moore, Oklahoma Public Works No Yes
Northbrook, Illinois Water Meter Reading No Yes
Pinellas County, Florida Grounds Maintenance No Yes
Rialto, California Grounds Maintenance No No
Rialto, California Water Meter Reading No Yes
Sanford, Florida Ambulance Service No Yes
Sanford, Florida Utility Meter Reading No Yes
Savannah, Georgia Fire Services No Yes
Sioux City, Iowa Residential Trash Collection Yes No
Warwick, Rhode Island Residential Trash Collection Yes No
Whittier, California Public Bus Service No Yes