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Response from Graeme Keith Sr.

Graeme Keith Sr., chairman of TKC Management Services of Charlotte provided this statement:

TKC Management Services has a nearly 20 year track record of successfully providing maintenance services for state and county correctional facilities in North Carolina and elsewhere, and has always conducted its business according to the highest ethical standards. Any implication or inference that we have requested or been awarded contracts based on anything other than our qualifications, excellent performance and the value we provide is unfounded and offensive.

TKC maintains 3 of North Carolina’s 57 correctional facilities under contracts awarded by the N.C. Department of Public Safety beginning in 2005. These contracts were awarded through an open, competitive bidding process in which TKC emerged as the best qualified and lowest bidder. We have provided maintenance services at these facilities in an effective and efficient manner, resulting in significant savings for the taxpayers of North Carolina.

The recent decision by DPS not to exercise the final one-year extension allowed under the current contract has nothing to do with the quality of services we provide. This action as well as DPS’ campaign of misinformation and innuendo reflect a longstanding debate in North Carolina government over the value and role of privatization.

DPS’ claim that the privatization of prison maintenance does not result in taxpayer savings is simply incorrect and based on a flawed analysis that ignores the significant costs of shared overhead and retiree pension and medical benefits. Our analysis shows that privatizing maintenance at the 3 prisons we maintain saved the state more than $1 million over 3 years. Additional analysis indicates the state could save well in excess of $50 million over the next decade by privatizing the maintenance services at all of its prisons. To provide an accurate assessment of the benefits of privatization of prison maintenance, we have long advocated for an independent third-party study of the costs and potential savings for the state.

In addition, DPS’ assertion that privatization of maintenance services increases security risks is completely unsubstantiated. The fact is the Department of Public Safety conducts background checks on all of our maintenance employees and controls their access to and movement within all prison facilities. TKC maintains all of its correctional facilities to exceed the accreditation standards set by the American Correctional Association.

The campaign to eliminate privatization is driven by entrenched interests and not facts. There is no more egregious example of this than the statement attributed to me in a DPS memo purporting to recap an October 2014 meeting in which TKC presented its cost savings analysis to state officials. This misrepresentation is nothing more than an attempt to ascribe a nefarious purpose to what was simply a straightforward discussion of the cost savings resulting from privatizing prison maintenance services.

TKC is one of the largest private providers of correctional facilities maintenance services in the country. We have been a proud and reliable partner of local and state governments in North Carolina for nearly two decades and have met or exceeded the requirements of our current contract and passed every annual DPS inspection - while at the same time saving taxpayers money.

TKC Management Services is a North Carolina company with 100 employees who are taxpayers in this state. We hope the State of North Carolina will follow through with an independent analysis that we know will demonstrate how private companies can deliver facility maintenance services at better quality and lower costs.

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