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In a Detroit studio, way back in the day, Barrett Strong sang, “Money, that’s what I want.” Many artists have since covered the tune and government bureaucrats croon it every day. As David Siders shows in the Sacramento Bee, they jack up the volume around budget time.
The California Department of Conservation, for example, needs more money to train its regulators. At present they lack certain “field standards of health and safety and regulatory functions.” The regulators need this training “to prevent costly errors, injuries, and the highest cost of all, death.” Yes, without more money, oil and gas regulators could take heavy casualties, just like special forces.
The State Board of Equalization, a high-maintenance state agency, collects a fire prevention fee levied on rural landowners but ran into “negative public sentiment against the fee.” So the $1.4 million the BOE requested is not enough. Why, these malcontents are keeping noble government employees on the phone for 10-20 minutes at a time.
The Department of Forestry and Fire wants $1.7 million to hire more information officers so the media gets “appropriate and timely information.” In Napa County, one information officer fielded 78 calls in one day and, as Siders notes, “In that single month, the employee accrued more than 300 hours of overtime.” Why this government information officer is a veritable Stakhanov.
The California Correctional Health Care Services says medical equipment bears dust and debris. According to a report, rodent feces, cockroaches and black widow spiders are such a problem one facility could have lost its license. The bosses want money for more janitors but it seems the current squad isn’t doing the job very well.
The California Military Department, meanwhile, believes state computer systems are at risk, with nearly 34 possible means of intrusion per computer system. So the Military Department jacked up its funding request for the Cyber Network Defense Team from $774,000 to $1.4 million. Yes, that should keep us all safe.
When asked how much money was enough, John D. Rockefeller replied, “just a little bit more.” With government bosses it’s always a lot more.