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Byline: Chris Carroll
Aug. 07--Despite a consultant's recommendation, Erlanger Health System outsourced police jobs to a private company at nearly twice the cost and disregarded a pledge that former security officers would get first consideration if their department was restructured. "We wouldn't leave you hanging out there and say, 'well, you're on your own,'" Chief Operating Officer Charlesetta Woodard-Thompson told a gathering of officers, according to a videotape obtained by the Chattanooga Times Free Press. "That's not right. We're not going to do that." Added Vice President of Government and Corporate Affairs Doug Fisher at the same meeting, whose date could not be verified: "This is an administration telling employees, 'We've got your back; we've got you covered.'"
Erlanger dissolved the entire department in March, the same month it concluded a search for private security companies to replace the officers. In its request for proposals, Erlanger promised to award a five-year security contract "to the Proposer who submits the lowest and best proposal," records show. On March 24, hospital trustees unanimously went along with a management-backed proposal to outsource to Walden Security, a Chattanooga-based company that offered its services at an annual rate …