23 February 2011

Sunny Days.....Waste of public money

From the Citizen side: One of the things I sort of looked at whilst I was in Bosnia and Iraq was local government corruption. There are a few red flags I learned to watch for and when I look at government waste, fraud, theft and corruption in the US, I see some of the same red flags.

Since the stock market, housing market and so many businesses got into trouble in the last few years…it eventually had an effect on local and state governments. The simple fact is, our government system runs on taxes, fines and fees. When the money coming in gets reduced, then these government agencies have less money. It’s very simple math.

Now when money gets tight, what do these government leaders look at cutting? Are they going to cut things that they like to spend the tax payers money on? Parties, nice office stuff, nice cars, etc...Hell no…most of them will cut all kinds of public services, cut the number of employees, and cut the employees pay and benefits. But, the little things that the bosses like to spend money on that serve no useful purpose for the tax payers.

As most of my readers know, I try to avoid writing about politics, and shit like that, but I try to write about stuff that I have direct knowledge of. How about money wasted in police departments and other government agencies?

A little department I used to work for…many years ago before I went to Bosnia and Iraq…I was in charge of the armory. All the department weapons and ammo were my responsibility. Those who know me know that I try to always plan ahead. So one day I did an inventory of all our surplus weapons and how much ammo we needed. I felt that some of the antique weapons we had were not suitable for law enforcement, but could have a great value for collectors if we traded them in.

We had two WWII submachine guns there were in very good condition and worth about $50,000 each (retail- so we could expect half of that in trade in). So, between the 2 guns, I figured we should get $50,000 in trade in. Plus trade in lots of other guns we no longer needed---I estimated we would have about $100,000 in trade in value. With this, I came up with a plan to outfit the entire department with new sidearms, new rifles & shotguns for the cars and a bunch of other stuff.

I presented the plan to the Captain. He said it wouldn’t work, but he kept the paperwork.

When I was gone on deployment, he did the trade, but with another gun dealer. When I came back, I looked at all the stuff he got--- it only added up to about $10,000. I was confused. Then I saw that in the deal, the captain got a new compact pistol to wear with his suit…for free. He wasted about $90,000 in trade, but was able to make himself look good to the chief…by claiming the trade in idea was his.

In my opinion, we should have gotten the best value for our trade in---the best deal we could get for the tax payers.

A local college, not a very big college… needed new software for operations. You know, the stuff colleges do….a committee of workers and computer geeks looked into a few different programs and recommend a program in the middle cost range---explaining that it was easier to use etc and cost much less than some of the other programs that did not work very well. The middle cost program was about $250,000. The most expensive program was FIVE MILLION DOLLARS, and required $250,000 a year to upgrade etc.

Guess which program that college bought? And it appears that one of those in charge is good friends with one of the owners of that high prices software company.

The local county did the same thing…spent millions of dollars on crap software that didn’t work and needed lots of fixing….dumping more money down the drain.

This sort of thing goes on everyday. People in charge of government agencies spending millions of dollars on crap, then they claim that they need to cut the workers pay and benefits.

For me to get into police work…I put myself through college. I put myself through the police academy. I had to volunteer for several months to just get my foot in the door of a police department…I started out working shitting shift…dealing with everybody’s problems…drunks, car crashes, drunks, family fights, drunks, armed robberies, drunks, shop lifters, drunks, rapes, drunks, crazy people, drunks, people trying to kick my ass, drunks, murders, drug addicts, drunks, and did I mention drunks. Working nights, weekends, holidays, missing my kids birthdays, soccer games, family events, Christmas, Thanksgiving, working in the heat, the rain, the cold and drunks. I’ve been kicked in the head, spit on, yelled at, threatened to be sued a million times, had to take guns and knives away from all kinds of assholes etc, etc, etc.

And now the citizens of California think my retirement is too much. I figured with my education and skills, if I had worked at a civilian job for 30 years, my pay would have been about 10-30% more for all those years---but I chose police work because I knew I could make a difference and when I retire, the odds are I am not going to enjoy all my retirement anyway.  (we tend to die 5.3 years after retirement--but I work out, so I'll beat those odds.)

So the next sniveling citizen who starts bitching that some of us public servants make too much money and all…they can kiss my ass.
I have dozens of stories of how public bosses have wasted lots of tax money on stupidshit. 
When you look into when a public official waste money like this…there are two possible reasons

1.) Corruption of some kind. 
2.) Incompetence. 


TheNewMagoo said...

Bloody hell mate... local government price cuts? I come on here for tales of derring-do, to get away from my day job...
In local government...
Where i've just taken a £2k pay cut...
and have the pleasure of paying a truckload of invoices for "cost-saving" consultants.

Oh, I could tell a few tales.


lorraine said...

You know me - a nurse - talk about shitty jobs now I could talk about shit. My hospital has a wage freeze, no overtime (oh you can work it but don't dare put it on your time card), missed lunches (but don't put that down either), with some jerk off who never did the job you're doing making all kinds of "nifty changes". He tells us all of his time is occupied with changing over to computer medical records - at a cost of $$$$$$ but not a dime for those of us who- if we weren't taking care of the patients the computers would sit and decompose. It is the same all over - and retirement? We only have our 401k things that go up and down with the price of oil. I will work until I drop dead and most of the time I hope it is sooner than later. Love and thanks for doing what you do - especially bringing the drunks to the hospital - that is so nice.

CI-Roller Dude said...

And did I say:
"Everybody hates the friggen cops, but how many cop shows are on TV?"

New Magoo... the "company" I work for has spent more on consultants they hired to sit at contract talks to not give us a raise than just giving us the raise would have cost. I work for one of the few agencies in Calif that is not really having money problems, but the mang hates our guts, so they're using the world money problems as an excuse.

Lor, I didn't mention bringing drunks to the ER...usually bloody and with piss and shit all over them. so much fun...what I don't get is why do you guys keep them alive? I know drunks that would have died 15 years ago if you guys stopped saving them.

suz said...

Shush, you naughty talebearer! You're not supposed to point to the elephant under th rug!

Wrexie said...

I'm reading a book a local BP agent wrote. He was a sniper in Nam...and lots of crazy s***. He tells of a time when he was with US Customs. They had brand new 'proven' Colt AR-15 semiauto carbines in .223 cal. which they found highly effective for enforcing the border against illegals carrying AK-47's.
Then a year into it, some 'higer-up' said they were being issued .223 Steyr Aug rifles that often jam, malfunction, etc. The agents questioned why... seemed for every 2-3 Colts, Customs got one Aug. ..sounds a bit fishy.

On top of it, seems the head of US Customs commissioner was into Steven Seagal movies. He thought the Aug was cool...

I though I'd be sick when I read that. The waste of tax dollars is horrible enough..but to put our agents at risk...

Wrexie said...

Oh, and RD. I really do think the odds are in your favor.
5.3 years...who makes that crap up anyway?

Anonymous said...

1. Didn't happen to run into any drunks, in the course of your police duties?
V/R JWest