During his State of the City Address in 1998, St. Paul mayor Norm Coleman fired off this salvo: "We need to aggressively introduce the element of competition into the delivery of city services." So began the campaign to put some city services out for bid between private companies and the city's own employees. In short order, the 11-member Compete St. Paul Task Force, headed by City Council member Mike Harris and former Deputy Mayor Tim Marx, formed to do what task forces do: meet, mull, make recommendations. In late September the group issued its advice in a report that argues that transferring some city services to the competitive marketplace could promote "fiscal restraint"; what's more, it reads, "the city could eventually save millions of dollars, improve service quality, and develop a cutting-edge... More >>>