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This column alerts taxpayers to government waste, fraud and abuse, which abound at all levels. On those rare occasions when government bodies do the same, it’s certainly worth a look.
As Jon Ortiz notes in the Sacramento Bee, “Nearly two-thirds of California state government data systems checked by auditors over two years contained unreliable information or were impossible to scrutinize for accuracy.” That comes in a report by California’s State Auditor Elaine Howle that cites areas “where important data are not always reliable.” In fact, 17 of 53 systems were “not sufficiently reliable.” These include a State Water Resources Control Board database, which government staffers claimed was “out of date” and clogged with data entries. The financial program of the California State University System, auditors found, declined to trace data back to individual transactions on the ground that this would be “cost-prohibitive.” Another CSU system lacked any hard copy, so these were among 17 systems with “undetermined reliability.” All told, that is a dismal record, but no reform measures were announced, and nobody held to account, demoted, or dismissed. So the state auditor doesn’t really want to know what’s going on.
For other government lapses, consider the plight of Bay Area state senator Ellen Corbett. She was pulling down $97,315 a year as Senate Majority Leader before being termed out of the legislature in November. Not to worry, however, because as Josh Richman notes in the San Jose Mercury News, the Hayward Unified School District created a special position, just for Ellen Corbett. She is now the district’s “executive director of institutional advancement, communications and government relations,” at salary of $167,822, an increase of more than 66 percent.
Just so you know, this is a sinecure. California’s government K-12 school system does a poor job educating students, but the system works well as posh safety net for politicians. Education bureaucrats are always screaming for more money, but there’s always enough funds to feather the bed of a termed-out legislator. The ruling class is number one. Taxpayers aren’t even number two, and that won’t change in 2015. So Happy New Year, everybody.