Crime-testing transfer would save millions 

Passing the duties of the understaffed Police Department crime lab to private hands could save The City $15 million to $21 million in costs related to the dilapidated Bayview district warehouse where the facility is currently located, according to a new report.

While Mayor Gavin Newsom and police Chief George Gascón have committed to outsourcing drug testing in the wake of a scandal in which a 29-year veteran is suspected of pilfering cocaine evidence, the question of whether other lab duties would be farmed out is still undecided.

Doing so would save significant construction costs in the next five years, according to a report released Tuesday by the City Controller’s Office. The lease on the current lab will expire by 2015. 

But lab workers say outsourcing the sensitive work rather than correcting “management mistakes and [creating] a state-of-the-art, on-site analytical facility would have serious consequences for San Francisco’s city budget and crime rate,” according to Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21, which represents lab technicians..

Privatization would lead to about 20 layoffs, while saving The City about $2.2 million in the next five years.

“There are other city departments with the managerial capacity and objectivity to oversee this critical city service and ensure the swift and accurate administration of justice. You can’t outsource responsibility,” said Kim Carter of Local 21.

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