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The week between the Christmas and New Year’s often makes for a slow news week, where all the hubbub and activity of the holidays work to refocus the attention of Americans on their families and friends rather than what’s going on in their communities or is happening in Washington D.C.
Since this is my first post of 2018 (Lloyd’s article on Feds Fast Food Junkthought is MyGovCost’s inaugural post of the year), I thought it would be a good time to look in on three stories involving either corruption, bad behavior or outright greed involving either national, state or local government officials that came to light over the holidays. Each of the three were featured as “picks of the week” by RealClearInvestigations, a nonpartisan news site that aggregates investigative reporting from high quality sources throughout the country.
New York Times: The Most Expensive Mile of Subway Track on Earth
Doing absolutely nothing: It’s nice work if you can get it, and 200 subway construction workers did, at a rate of $1,000 per day each. That’s just one example of the exorbitant costs to expand New York’s regional transit network, according to a New York Times investigation. The paper found that public officials for years stood by as politically connected labor unions, construction companies and consulting firms reaped the public spending largesse — billions of dollars that could gone to repair existing subways. The estimated cost of the Long Island Rail Road project, known as “East Side Access,” has ballooned to $12 billion, or nearly $3.5 billion for each new mile of track — seven times the average elsewhere in the world.
Open the Books: Federal Bureaucrats Making $200K Increase 165%
Between fiscal year 2010 and 2016, the number of federal employees making $200,000 or more increased by 165 percent, says a watchdog group that crunches government statistics. Furthermore, nearly 30,000 rank-and-file federal employees who received more than $190,823 out-earned each of the 50 state governors. At 78 departments and independent agencies, the average employee made $100,000 or more. Additionally, on average, federal employees receive 10 federal holidays, 13 sick days, and 20 vacation days per year.
Center for Public Integrity: The Trouble With Lawmakers’ Side Gigs
State legislators around the country often have other jobs that they juggle with their official duties. Some do mundane and evidently blameless work, like Stephen Meeks, who some hungry central Arkansans might know better as the pizza delivery guy. But an investigation finds that many others exploit their legislative work in favor of their businesses — a less savory way to grab a slice.
2018 has the potential to be a year of reform for putting more effective restraints upon the graft and corruption that all too often comes at the public’s expense with price tags of millions of dollars. We can only hope that the more honest among today’s politicians can rise up to meet that potential.