Corporatism, Privatization, Rick Snyder — January 30, 2015 at 9:35 am

Fired or tired? Overseer of for-profit prison vendor Aramark hits the road


Ed Buss was hired about five months ago by the Snyder administration to oversee the work of Aramark, a for-profit vendor who the Snyder admnistration outsourced prison food services to. Buss was brought in to clean up some messes that Aramark had made. What messes?

These messes:

  • Running out of food
  • Making unauthorized food substitutions in violation of their contract
  • Maggots in food service areas
  • Employees having sex with prisoners
  • Serving raw or under-cooked meat to inmates
  • Falsifying food storage and safety records
  • Three different Aramark employees smuggling weed, cocaine, and heroin to prisoners
  • An employee soliciting an inmate to murder another inmate

Today we learn that Buss has left his position and nobody is saying why:

The man Gov. Rick Snyder tapped to oversee the controversial Aramark prison food contract has left the $160,000-a-year job after less than five months, and state officials wouldn’t say Thursday whether he quit or was fired.

Ed Buss “is no longer working” for the Department of Technology, Management and Budget and “has moved back to Florida with his wife and family,” department spokesman Caleb Buhs said in an e-mail.

“He made some great strides during his time in Michigan, improving the performance of prison food service delivery. The Aramark contract oversight role is an important one and DTMB is actively working to fill the position.”

Buhs said Buss left Jan. 16 but did not respond to a follow-up e-mail asking if Buss quit or was asked to leave. He told the Associated Press that Buss was an “at-will employee and served at the pleasure of the … director.”

That sounds an awful like a man who got himself fired from his $160,000/year job and there’s more to the story that the Snyder administration doesn’t want us to hear about.

Either that or Buss just decided that he was dealing with a company whose corporate model virtually ensures that they will cut corners everywhere possible to maximize profits is a fool’s errand. When you’re dealing with that, fixing issues with hiring and the horrifying level of negligence and incompetence is nearly impossible. Keep in mind, 139 people – 20-25% of Aramark employees working in prisons – have been fired for their inappropriate behavior.

Either way, Aramark continues to prove the point that privatizing vital government services that directly impact the lives of living, breathing human beings is a terrible idea that pretty much ensures that some will get rich on the taxapayers’ dime while real people suffer.