Outsourced City

The City of Maywood, California has completely outsourced all of its civic services and turned local officials into contract workers. Though some worried the city would crumble, it's actually taken a turn for the better.
July 20, 2010, 2pm PDT | Nate Berg
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"Senior citizens were afraid they would be assaulted as they walked down the street. Parents worried the parks would be shut and their children would have nowhere to safely play. Landlords said their tenants had begun suggesting that without city-run services they would no longer feel obliged to pay rent.

The apocalypse never arrived. In fact, it seems this city was so bad at being a city that outsourcing - so far, at least - is being viewed as an act of municipal genius.

'We don't want to be the model for other cities to lay off their employees,' said Magdalena Prado, a spokeswoman for the city who works on contract. 'But our residents have been somewhat pleased.'"

Nearly all city officials have been rehired as consultants and through various outside firms, so much of the city's face remains the same. But locals report that outsourced services, like turning over policing to the Los Angeles County Sheriff, has resulted in improvements.

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Published on Monday, July 19, 2010 in The New York Times
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