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  1. 31 Jul '10 18:28
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/7919409/Maywood-A-city-that-sacked-its-entire-staff.html

    Maywood: A city that sacked its entire staff
    The US city sacked all its staff to stave off bankruptcy – and its citizens think services are now better.

    Tom Leonard
    Published: 7:00AM BST 31 Jul 2010

    5 Comments
    Police car in Maywood
    All public services, including the police force, are outsourced in Maywood Photo: David McNew GETTY

    To the casual eye, nothing about Maywood looks unusual. Police cars patrol the city’s palm-tree lined streets a few miles south of downtown Los Angeles, red-shorted lifeguards watch over the public swimming pool and, inside the striking Art Deco city hall, clerks issue yard sale permits. The police cars, however, are from “out of town” and manned by deputies from the county sheriff’s department, while the lifeguards and clerks are on loan from the neighbouring city of Bell.

    ...

    The improvement in crime is the first thing people mention when asked what has changed in Maywood. Pensioners at their daily get-together at the recreation centre seemed happy.

    “Before, you could be waiting for the bus and somebody would take your purse,” said Edna Soto, 65. She used to visit her family in a part of Maywood where gunshots were a regular sound and where police refused to go. A park that was “gang-infested” was now full of families, she said. The brave new outsourced world had even sorted out Maywood’s big problem with stray dogs, she added.

    ...