Small but Notable Government Consolidation in Kansas City
It is always dangerous to talk before you have all the facts, as a certain person sharing a beer today with two Bostonians has realized, but, dammit, if it’s good enough for him it’s good enough for me. I want to direct you to an example of government consolidation in Kansas City. According to the Star, the city’s independent ambulance service is being folded into city government. I am not here to talk about the silly use of consultants, although I certainly agree with this councilman — whose point applies to corporate America as well as to government:
“I still think we’ve got the expertise in-house,” Sharp said. “We use too many consultants.”
From what I can tell and what I have learned, this seems to be a good move in KC. MAST, a regional, independent government entity, is the nonprofit company that has formerly provided this service. There are many types of these regional entities in Missouri, and some of them certainly deserve to remain independent, like MSD in St. Louis. But MAST appears primarily to serve Kansas City and surrounding unincorporated areas, like Blue Summit. Hopefully in the areas outside of KC, fully private ambulance services will begin providing services.
But back to the consolidation issue. If the city can save money on overhead, et al, by bringing one government entity under the control of another, then this will be a good thing for taxpayers. There is no compelling reason to avoid this — the need for checks and balances from separate agencies doesn’t really apply here. Plus, most people, right or wrong, probably think ambulance service is a legitimate responsibility of government, so this is not another example of the government expanding its reach. It’s just one government consolidating with another; which is fine with me as long as it saves tax dollars.
I am totally open to being corrected on any of this by our KC readers, so fire away in the comment section, if you like.