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Privatizing Child Support (and the courts) in Michigan; County Workers picket. Judge was AFCC

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I looking up Maximus, and what comes up alongside it, Lockheed-Martin, no matter which way you push it, one finds fraud and complaints about fraud.  I am starting to wonder about how much practices like this contributed to the economic troubles in Wisconsin which caused legislators to exit the state rather than vote to compromise the union’s rights to bargain, that ushered in 2011.

When fraud is entrenched, routine and too much has been invested int he agency committing the fraud to eliminate it from further government contracts, than our government is too big for its britches, which we paid for.    Government Of, By, For, WHICH people?

This article, though 2007, seems to typify the problems with privatizing child support.  Of course there are other problems with keeping it in place, and having the access/visitation “Designer Family” incentives, too — and with the capricious nature of enforcement,  and the vested interests in keeping the states staffed by child support agencies and workers as an antidote to poverty, which I am starting to think, it just ain’t.  I think anymore it’s a contributor.  Parents who can separate and were decent to start with, the one will be willing to support HIS children without going to court to force some sort of child support order.  They will write it up.

Those who can’t are subject to fleecing whether or not through Title IV-D programs.

I did submit a full-length post (and looked up this judge, some) to the same post; it’s not up there yet but I hope will be.

It’s not about individual judges — it’s about systems.  But the forum is helpful if it links to other news articles, or data for those using or viewing it.

MI-Remove Chief Judge Marybeth Kelly (Posted at:   Courthouseforum.com)


 

The Michigan Citizen – 2669 Bagley – Detroit – MI – 48216 � Phone: 313-963-8282Monday, SEP 17, 2007
MichiganCitizen.com
 (ARTICLE POST IS FROM COURTHOUSEFORUM.COM ON THIS PARTICULAR JUDGE)

Kelly moves to privatize Friend of the Court

Councilwoman JoAnn Watson (r) with supporters of Judge Deborah Thomas in her fight for jury rights.  DIANE BUKOWSKI PHOTOS
Councilwoman JoAnn Watson (r) with supporters of Judge Deborah Thomas in her fight for jury rights. DIANE BUKOWSKI PHOTOS

March for Kelly’s removal

By Diane Bukowski
The Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — Wayne County child support workers joined hundreds of youth, legal luminaries, government officials and rank and file Detroiters Sept. 10, marching outside state offices at Cadillac Place, and packing the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center {{“CAYMC}}} auditorium, with standing room only.

They were there to support Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Deborah Thomas in her struggle for racially representative juries, among other concerns, and to demand the removal of Chief Judge Mary Beth Kelly.

On Sept. 6, Kelly announced her intent to contract out the jobs of 169 Friend of the Court employees to a private company which will employ a total of 225 workers at lower wages, with no benefits or pensions. Kelly said the move would increase the amount of collections and a cut of them which goes to the county.

BIDDERS HAVE PRIOR LEGAL ISSUES

Among the national companies likely to bid on the $28 million contract are MAXIMUS, Inc., a Lockheed Martin spin-off, and Tier Technologies, which currently operates the state’s centralized child support disbursement system. 

The companies would get either a flat fee or a cut of the amount collected. MAXIMUS and Lockheed-Martin recently paid millions in fines to the federal government for defrauding social service programs, and Tier Technologies faces a securities fraud suit by its shareholders.

“We have mostly Black employees here, a lot of them with 18 or more years of seniority,” said a child support worker who asked not to be identified. “We’re already working like dogs on the biggest caseload in the state, but now they want to reduce our wages to $8 or $9 an hour. We won’t be allowed to bump into other county positions.”

The Wayne County Friend of the Court is the largest FOC in the state, with 300,000 active cases. In 2006, according to figures released by Kelly, it collected over 74 percent of the $426.2 million owing in the cases, a figure which surpasses the 2005 state-wide collection rate of 60 percent and ranks among the top state percentages nationally.

Failure to collect outstanding amounts is largely due to the poverty rate of non-custodial parents, according to Marilyn Stephen, Director of the State Office of Child Support.

“More than 75 percent of child support arrears in Michigan are owed by parents making less than $10,000 annually,” Stephen said. Over one-third of payments go primarily to the state to reimburse it for assistance to poor non-custodial parents, who get only a small pass-through of $50 a month.

WHAT KIND OF ASSISTANCE TO NONCUSTODIAL PARENTS?  TYPICALLY THAT PHRASE GOES, TO REIMBURSE IT FOR ASSISTANCE TO CUSTODIAL PARENTS (WHO ARE TITLE IV-D).

ENGLER OPENED DOOR TO PRIVATIZATION

State Attorney General Mike Cox originally proposed privatization of child support collection in 2003. Former Gov. John Engler and Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan opened the floodgates, supporting a 2002 law allowing privatization of state social services. Kelly is a member of a state child support panel appointed by Corrigan.

Is that this woman, Wikipedia now showing as Head of Michigan DHS?

Description of Michigan DHS (from this site, bottom):

The Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) is the state’s second-largest agency. The DHS oversees almost 10,000 employees and has an annual budget of more than $4 billion to administer federal programs.

The DHS staff handles more than 1.5 million medical assistance cases and 1.2 million cash and food-assistance cases all across Michigan. It oversees Michigan’s child and adult protective services, foster care, adoptions, juvenile justice, domestic violence, and child-support programs. The DHS also licenses adult foster care, child day care and child welfare facilities.[4]


She graduated from Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan in 1969 and earned her Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from theUniversity of Detroit Law School in 1973. While in law school, she worked as a probation officer at a Detroit court.

Her first job after law school was with the Michigan Court of Appeals, where she served as a law clerk to Judge John Gillis. She next worked as a Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor. In 1979, she became an Assistant U.S. Attorney, serving as Chief of Appeals; she later became the first woman to serve as Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney. In 1989, she became a partner at the Detroit law firm of Plunkett & Cooney. In 1992, Governor John Engler appointed her to the Michigan Court of Appeals. She was twice elected to that court and served as its Chief Judge from 1997-1998.

Corrigan is a long-time member of the Federalist Society, Michigan Lawyers Chapter. She was also president of the Incorporated Society of Irish-American Lawyers and of the Federal Bar Association, Detroit Chapter.

A member of the (Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care, Corrigan has been recognized for her work on foster care and adoption issues, including The Detroit News “Michiganian of the Year” award.

Corrigan is the widow of the late Joseph D. Grano, a professor of constitutional law at Wayne State University. She has two children: Megan Grano, a comedian with Second City in Chicago, and Daniel Grano, an associate attorney with Flood, Lanctot, Connor & Stablein, PLLC, a law firm in Royal Oak, Michigan. She has supported several of George W. Bush‘s nominees to theUnited States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit which includes the state of Michigan.

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano also supports Kelly’s move.

“We are particularly grateful with the Court’s requirement that the successful bidder hire all FOC employees whose jobs are the subject of the Request for Proposal,” said Ficano in a statement. “We expect a smooth transition.”

However, Wayne County Commissioners Jewel Ware, Bernard Parker, and Tim Killeen attended the CAYMC rally, supporting Judge Thomas and expressing strong opposition to the privatization proposal.

{{Ever since I learned about the behavior of some County Commissioners in Northern and Southern California, I am generally wary.  In S. CA ,they were in bed with the large developers (and others), and in N.CA, voted to allow an Interim D.A. just prior to the other’s planned retirement, enabling (Orloff) in effect to pick his successor (Alameda County DA Nancy O’Malley), who then went on to propound another PRIVATE NONPROFIT WITH PUBLIC EMPLOYEES situation, the Family Justice Center.  She was recently seen with her team seeking support of a California (not US Congress, but a STATE) bill which would incorporate a certain alliance of counties (already working together) as the central, training grounds (3 of them) for more Justice Centers.  I’ve never met anyone who has received help from here, or heard it in the press other than their press releases, and our landscape is strewn with domestic violence and sexual assault outrages, and deaths, plus corruption in law enforcement also — who are entrenched in that Justice Center setup.  “Just say “NO” or at least “Whoa!” post, and/or “Dubious Doings by District Attorneys post,” this blog)

Ed McNeil, assistant to the President of Council 25 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) reiterated their opposition.

“Michigan ranks fourth in the nation in the collection of child support payments,” said McNeil. “Our folks are doing their job. All the monies collected ought to go to the families, not to some private entity that gets a percentage to make a profit.”

The workers’ contract expires Sept. 30. AFSCME staff representative Danny Craig, threatened that employees “will take it to the streets” if the county insists on the privatization move.

Wayne County’s Third Circuit Court previously had a $5 million contract with MAXIMUS in 2000, to modify the child support distribution system. The state had a five-year contract with a Lockheed Martin spin-off, Affiliated Computer Services, Inc., to develop and operate its centralized state disbursement unit. It now contracts with Tier Technologies to run the unit.

In July of this year, MAXIMUS entered a criminal deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Justice Department, and paid a $30.6 million fine because it submitted claims for servicing all foster care children in the District of Columbia regardless of whether it had.

Also in July, Affiliated Computer Services agreed to pay the federal government $2.6 million because it admittedly submitted inflated charges for services it provided to programs run by the Agriculture, Labor, and Health and Human Services departments.

Tier Technologies is facing ongoing prosecution in New York in a class action securities fraud case, brought in 2006 by its shareholders.

I’ll be back. There is more . . . .. . .

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martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?...' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

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