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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, December 21, 2002

Auditor says privatization law ignored

Associated Press

State Auditor Marion Higa says only minimal effort has been made to shift state and county functions to the private sector since enabling legislation went into effect more than a year ago.

Higa yesterday called on Gov. Linda Lingle to designate a privatization authority to implement Act 90, the latest of three privatization laws passed by the Legislature.

The act, which went into effect May 3, 2001, allows the state and counties to contract with private entities when it is reasonable to believe they can provide equivalent or better services at lower cost than a government agency.

"Although Act 90 enabled the state and counties to utilize privatization as a management tool, the state is not adequately prepared to utilize this tool," she said.

None of the agencies cited in a Senate concurrent resolution has used the act to privatize any services, Higa said.

Higa found the only agency specifically planning to privatize a service under the act is the state Department of Land Natural Resources' Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.