OPEA Continues to Fight OJA Privatization

OPEA today attended a meeting of the Board of Directors for the Office of Juvenile Affairs in an attempt to prevent privatization of several of the state’s juvenile facilities.

The OJA Board began preliminary discussions at their June meeting to discuss an RFP (request for proposal) and the ITB (invitation to bid) for the private construction of a new combination medium and maximum secure juvenile facility and the possible private management of the facility.

“What can we learn from our past mistakes,” OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley asked the Board. “Private facilities are in business to make a profit and maximize the bottom line. State employees don’t have stockholders to serve or the goal of making profit from the challenges facing troubled youth and their families. You’ve seen the salaries of our state employees, and they are definitely not in it for the money. They are working to help improve the lives of our troubled kids.”

OPEA board member Wally Ogunoiki from OJA and several members of the L.E. Rader Center also attended the meeting, wearing OPEA shirts stating “Keep it professional, Keep it public.”

The OJA Board delayed action and will take up further discussions at their next meeting September 18.

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