Article 43

 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sheriff With A Heart

Ohio sheriff orders deputies not to evict

Sheriff halts winter evictions

By Janice Morse
Cincinnati News
December 9, 2008

"Forced evictions in winter weather and during a recession are just heartless,” Butler County Sheriff Rick Jones says and he֒s ordering his deputies to disregard eviction orders when people have nowhere else to live.

“This is like serving a death sentence, when you’re evicting someone from their home in the winter and I’m not going to do it,” Jones said today. “These situations are going to go back to the courts and be resolved some other way. There has to be a moratorium please, before someone dies this winter.”

Because of the bad economy and job losses, people are not only unable to keep up with house mortgages, but many also cannot pay rent “and were talking about the middle class in nice neighborhoods, too,” Jones said.

Troubled by the heart-wrenching circumstances of people put out on the street the average here is one per week - Jones issued an order to his deputies to ensure people have shelter before forcing them out of their homes and supervising removal of all their possessions.

Jones also sent a letter to Gov. Ted Strickland, urging: Please help by issuing an order to stop forced evictions for at least the winter monthsPlease help those who find themselves unable to meet their financial obligations, some for the first time in their lives because of loss of jobs in Ohio and throughout the United States.

In the meantime, Jones is ordering his deputies to ensure that anyone who is evicted has a place to live. “If you determine that these persons will not have shelter, you are to halt the service of the forced eviction and return the paperwork to the courts,” said Jones order, issued today.

As a courtesy, Jones told Keith Spaeth, the county Common Pleas Court’s administrative judge, about his directive to deputies. Spaeth said he informed his fellow judges.

Judicial-conduct rules prohibit judges from commenting on how they might handle a given situation. But Spaeth did say that if a bank or landlord takes issue with Jones refusal to honor the court order, Jones could face court action, at the discretion of the assigned judge.

Jones said he’ll face whatever consequences might come as a result of his order and his appeal to the governor.

Somebody’s got to do something to stop this madness, he said. “The federal government is bailing out all of these big corporations, but theyre not doing anything to help the Average Joe or the Average Jill who got laid off and can’t pay the mortgage or the rent.”

Jones said hopes his action calls attention to a problem that he suspects is statewide and nationwide, considering the much-publicized foreclosure epidemic.
Deputy Candi Johnson has the unpleasant task of overseeing forced evictions in Butler County.

On Tuesday, she had to rout a Liberty Township family with six children. The family fell behind on its $2,400-per-month rent payment after a job loss.

Last Friday, Johnson had to force a mentally unstable, elderly Middletown man from his home. It was hard to get him to understand what was happening and why, Johnson said.

She has seen a number of forced evictions in which people suffering from dementia dont even realize they are behind on their mortgage or rent, then they see me show up and can’t figure out why, she said.

Forced evictions, known as set-outs, happen after people are given a notice that they must vacate, usually five days after the notice, although extensions are possible.

After the voluntary vacate deadline passes, a deputy supervises as a bank’s or landlords crew executes the set-out: changing the house’s locks and emptying its contents, including pets.

“Rain, snow or shine, their property is put outside,” Johnson said. Sometimes, people in the neighborhood just watch and cry. Other times, they just swoop in like buzzards and start taking stuff when they see me leave. Once it’s on the street, anyone can take it.

So far this year, Jones’ office has received about 500 court orders evicting people. All but 47 were able to find other places to live before time ran out. Among those 47 who were subject to set-outs, 11 were homeowners in foreclosure and 36 were renters.

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Posted by Elvis on 12/11/08 •
Section General Reading
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Top 30 Outsourcing Countries

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Mexico, Poland, and Vietnam are positioning themselves as credible alternatives to outsourcing leaders Brazil, Russia, India, and China

By John Ribeiro
IDG News Service
December 11, 2008

One of India’s key advantages as an offshore outsourcing location was its LOWER COST. But it may be losing this advantage to countries like Pakistan and Vietnam, which now offer staff at far lower costs than in India.

VIETNAM, with a significant French-speaking population, is also at an advantage as French-speaking countries in Europe embrace offshore outsourcing, said Arup Roy, senior research analyst at Gartner, on Thursday.

India still has an edge over these locations if clients consider the maturity of the staff in the area of outsourcing, and their ability to hire more staff in India, Roy said.

Gartner released Thursday its listing of the TOP 30 COUNTRIES FOR OFFSHORE SERVICES IN 2008.

A number of countries have positioned themselves as credible alternatives to Brazil, Russia, India, and China, popularly referred to as the BRIC countries, Gartner said.

MEXICO, POLAND, and VIETNAM, have continued to strengthen their position against leading alternatives, while others are making their debut in the top 30, according to Gartner. These countries will be seeking to take advantage of the OPPORTUNITY created by the increased focus that many organizations now have on cost optimization, as a result of the CURRENT ECONOMIC CRISIS, it added.

For the list, Gartner assessed the suitability of 72 countries as offshore locations based on 10 parameters such as cost structure, IT labor pool, government support, and intellectual property (IP) protection laws, Roy said.

For a variety of clients the priorities are different, according to Roy. If they are looking for strong IP protection and security, they will look at Singapore or Australia as offshore locations rather than India. Indian laws for enforcing a contract are very lax, Roy said.

Countries like the Philippines and Vietnam do not have as severe a problem with staff attrition as INDIA, he added.

French-speaking countries like Morocco are also poised to benefit from more offshore outsourcing by French-speaking markets in Europe, Roy said. Morocco entered the Gartner top 30 list for the first time this year.

However, language will not be a key factor when it comes to offshore outsourcing work like IT services, which are not really tied to language, said Roy. It is likely to be more important for call centers and business process outsourcing work, which tend to be more language dependent, Roy said.

Indian companies will have to set up near-shore locations in Europe to be able to offer French and other European language skills.

Having services centers near shore is likely to be critical for outsourcers in markets like the U.S. as well, as customers now use a mix of low-cost offshore locations, and near-shore locations to meet their requirement of greater control, cultural similarity and similar time zones, Roy said.

A number of Indian companies like Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Technologies and Wipro have set up near-shore locations in Europe and South America.

Although only seven countries from the Americas appeared in the final list of 30, these countries are becoming an attractive proposition for the U.S., the largest buying market for offshore services, Gartner said. The countries from the Americas listed by Gartner are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Panama.

Latin American countries are able to increasingly take advantage of their Spanish-language skills in the U.S., as more organizations now require Spanish language from their providers for communication with Spanish-speaking parts of their workforce, Gartner said.

Although Canada fared badly on cost, it led the rating for political and economic environment, cultural compatibility, global and legal maturity, and data and IP security and privacy, Gartner said.

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Posted by Elvis on 12/11/08 •
Section Dying America
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Kiss IT Jobs Good Bye

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Survey: One in four IT jobs moving offshore

With large companies ACCELERATING THEIR USE OF OUTSOURCING, as many as a quarter of IT jobs at Global 1000 firms may be moved offshore by 2010

By Patrick Thibodeau
IDG News Service
December 10, 2008

Large companies are ACCELERATING their use of offshore OUTSOURCING and as many as a quarter of IT JOBS at Global 1000 firms may be moved offshore by 2010, according to the Hackett Group, a Miami-based consulting firm whose clients include many multinational firms.

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According to its research, these large firms—companies with revenues of at least $5 billion—WILL MOVE about 350,000 corporate jobs offshore over the next two years. Over half of those jobs will be in IT, with the remainder in finance, human resources and procurement.

The data “is a confirmation of a mega-trend” similar to what happened in the manufacturing sector several decades ago, said Michel Janssen, Hackett’s chief research officer. And while 25 percent of the IT jobs may head overseas in the next two years, over the longer term that figure could hit 60 percent. In some firms, it could reach 80 percent.

An earlier study that looked at the impact of offshore outsourcing on IT, based on data collected from 10,000 people, estimated that as many 8 PERCENT OF ALL IT WORKERS have been affected by offshore outsourcing.

The Hackett Group surveyed 200 firms in October, 40 percent of which have headquarters in the United States with a similar percentage in Europe. The IT headcount in each of these companies is about 1,600.

This big shift in jobs to low-cost offshore locations may be accelerating, in part, because companies are more experienced—and comfortable—with offshoring and have developed standardized practices, according to Erik Dorr, Hackett’s senior IT research director. The survey was completed in October and he is uncertain how economic conditions influenced responses.

“What is clear, though is they are certainly not slowing (offshoring) as a result of economic crisis,” said Dorr. “If anything, they are going to be more aggressive.”

The typical company is currently realizing about $16 million in annual savings from offshoring, with more than half of that in IT COST savings. That savings will grow to $30 million by 2010 as offshoring increases—a figure that still only represents a third of what these firms could eventually save.

Despite the growth in offshoring, the overall economy has seen a net gain of IT jobs in recent years; Whether that trend will hold, given the current downturn, is unclear, said Dorr.

The study did find that in finance and IT, about 50 percent of all companies surveyed are freezing hiring, cutting staff or doing both.

Janssen said that in today’s world companies have to use global delivery models if they want to grow and create new jobs.

“If you are sourcing all of your labor from high-cost countries, you are not going to be in business—period,” said Janssen.

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Posted by Elvis on 12/11/08 •
Section Dying America
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