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Branding Bytes Archives

Issue 35:
Thoughts On Using Social Media

Issue 34:
Reigning in Public-Private Partnerships

Issue 33:
Seven Ways to Avoid Toxicity In the Workplace

Issue 32:
A Few Bad Apples Bruise the Brand

Issue 31:
Branding Beyond the Logo

Issue 30:
The Yin and Yang of Celebrity Leadership

Issue 29:
Want to Raise More Funds? SPEAK UP!

Issue 28:
Government Funding Cuts: Act!

Issue 27:
"We Are Sorry":
Your Brand is Your Behavior

Issue 26:
Tell Your Story

Issue 25:
Good Leaders

Issue 24:
Think "People,"
Not "Organization"

Issue 23:
What's in a Name?
Just about Everything!

Issue 22:
Is Your Mission
Getting Creepy?

Issue 21:
Welcome to the Age
of the New Normal

Issue 20:
"Receptionist" vs Director of First Brand Impressions

Issue 19:
It's Not About How Your Message is Delivered

Issue 18:
When it Comes to Your Brand, Details Matter

Issue 17:
A Good Brand Requires TLC: Just Ask My Wife!

Issue 16:
Toxic-Work-Environment Syndrome Can Tarnish Your Brand

Issue 15:
Adjusting to the
New Face of Need

Issue 14:
Tired of all the Doom and Gloom? This is Your Time!

Issue 13:
A New Year's Resolution: Don't Cut Off Your Nose

Issue 12:
What You Do Is
About All of Us

Issue 11:
Ethical Standards
and Your Organization

Issue 10:
Leadership: Whose Journey is it, Anyway?

Issue 9:
Giving Circles
and Branding

Issue 8:
The World's Richest Men
— and Philanthropy

Issue 7:
What is an External
Brand Audit?

Issue 6:
Keeping Everyone
on Brand Message

Issue 5:
What is an Internal
Brand Audit?

Issue 4:
Turn Board Members into Better Brand Ambassadors

Issue 3:
Leadership, Vision
— and Branding

Issue 2:
What's 1st—Organization or Brand? / Govt. Cuts?—Branding Helps

Issue 1:
Branding Myths

Issue 34, Summer/Fall 2014


Note: The article below is less about branding and more about becoming an active and engaged citizen. Here's your chance to have your voice heard and to make a real difference in the way our government spends our money.

A Chance to Save Your Kids and Grandkids From Even Greater Debt

Why the federal government would even consider risking billions of taxpayer dollars by entering into long-term public-private partnerships with one hand tied behind its back is beyond me.

But that’s exactly what will happen if some bureaucrats in Washington get their way.

This column may be a bit wonky for some readers, but stay with me. It’s important.

Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, Independent or Tea Partier, here’s your rare opportunity to hold the government’s feet to the fire — and save your kids and grandkids from even deeper federal debt.

Privatizing Gains and Socializing Losses

It’s not news that all levels of government are strung out financially. Yet the business and financial burdens of providing services and infrastructure to their citizenries relentlessly goes on.

Enter public-private partnerships, or P3s, whereby governments are turning more and more to the private sector for financing.

For years, P3s have been employed to offset government costs in nations as far-flung and disparate as Great Britain, Australia, Canada, India and Russia, and are now beginning to gain traction in the United States.

P3s are not a bad thing. In fact, when executed properly, can be a very good thing.

The rub, however, is that, unlike routine contracts that can be terminated and awarded to another company for any number of reasons, these long-term — usually between 25 and 99 years — P3 agreements almost always guarantee a steady stream of income to the private partner, even if terminated early.

In essence we’re talking about the potential of privatizing profits and socializing losses whenever the government enters into such agreements — to the detriment of we, the taxpayers.

Cases in Point

In an effort to address infrastructure and budget deficits, several states have entered into P3 agreements for the construction and maintenance of toll roads. Unfortunately, almost all of these roads have struggled financially, and in some cases required state and federal government bailouts.

Bailouts to the private sector! Ouch!!! We’ve seen this movie before.

But here’s another rub. These bailouts are not necessarily to cover for any incomplete road construction, but rather to ensure that investors get their government guaranteed rates of return, which some estimate as high as 12% to 18%.

Or take the city of Chicago, which decided to privatize its parking meters using a P3 deal to close a one-year budget deficit. According to the Chicago Inspector General, the city lost anywhere between $1 billion to $2 billion in future revenues.

In addition to the lost future revenues, the Chicago taxpayers are on the hook to pay the private firm, even if they want to terminate the deal early.

So who’s minding the chicken coop?!

Deep in the belly of the beast exists a small, little known group that sets accounting standards for the federal government, called the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board, or FASAB.

FASAB created a task force to look more closely at P3 arrangements. In full disclosure, I was invited to be a member of the task force as a taxpayer representative, hence this column and appeal for your action.

Over the course of the last two years, task force members developed specific recommendations to increase accountability and transparency by requiring federal agencies to disclose and reveal P3 arrangements. All of which I agree with, by the way.

The majority of FASAB’s Board of Directors supports the task force’s recommendations. However, one board member’s concern may derail and block the task force’s efforts and impede transparent reporting of P3s. In part, the member argues that the recommendations are too expansive and would include too many P3 arrangements.

Excuse me, but if over time we’re talking about saving taxpayers billions of dollars, my recommendation is to require transparency and greater accountability from my government – not less!!

When it comes to effective and responsible oversight, I personally have no problem with asking the government to be as forthcoming as possible so I get the complete picture and not just what they want to show me.

At any rate, this member’s concern may cause other members of the board to change their positions, which would negate the work of the taskforce and leave things status quo with respect to how government auditors handle P3s.

The task force recommendations are currently open for public comment, and will be until January 2, 2015.

During this period, anyone—including YOU — can respond to the Exposure Draft, entitled Public-Private Partnerships: Disclosure Requirements, which can be found at: FASAB Board Activities/Documents For Comment.

Don’t be intimidated by what you see or read on the site. The important thing is to send an email to stating that you want more, not less transparency whenever the government enters into public-private partnerships.

After all, the private enterprises with which the government is entering into P3s are certainly looking after their self-interest; we need to ensure that the government is looking after ours, the taxpayers’.

We’re not talking chump change here, folks.

Billions of dollars are at stake in these long-term contractual agreements, which our kids and grandkids will be forced to make good on anytime anything goes wrong. And let’s be honest, our government does not have a very good track record when it comes to husbanding American tax dollars.

Take charge. Act NOW to exercise this rare opportunity to change — for the good — the way our government conducts our business.

No excuses or complaining. Just do it!

As always, I look forward to receiving your feedback, questions, success stories and branding challenges. Also, if you are in need of a motivational speaker, trainer, branding consultant/coach, or management consultant who can help you answer the questions: Who are we? What do we do? How do we do it? And should anyone care? I invite you to for more information.

In the meantime, good luck with your branding! — Larry

About Branding Bytes

Branding Bytes is a FREE quarterly e-newsletter courtesy of Larry Checco of Checco Communications. Please feel free to forward Branding Bytes on to others. However, Branding Bytes is copyrighted and may not be reprinted or reproduced without attributing Larry Checco of Checco Communications as its source and providing the following website address: Thank you.


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