Making friends with OPM
Date: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 @ 11:05:34 EST
Topic: LW Utilities

Making friends with OPM (other people's money)

Is that the game? LWM received some employee feedback this morning concerning the article directly below.

They suggested a question be asked:

“Why does Lake Worth Utilities have employees that mostly sit around with little to do (estimated they only work about 10% of the time) and yet we outsource the simple wiring up of breakers to an outside contractor… namely NuCat Corporation costing us thousands (about 14 thousand estimated) of dollars a piece? And if these electric utility employees don’t have the training to do the simple wiring… why aren’t they being trained to do it? And if we don’t have anyone qualified to train them… what are we paying hundreds of thousands in salaries and pensions for?”

This is a pretty good question and I can only suggest an answer. If everything is done in house by employees, it only serves the people not the contractors, consultants and vendors who feed at the public troth. So if you serve the people and do everything in house… how can you spend lots of money and make friends? After all, outsourcing is how you make friends.

Remember in New Jersey, the game was “grab the cash and pass it on to your friends?” That’s the kind of “friends” I’m talking about. Why did we outsource a $50,000 Arc Flash study to Synergetic Designs that could be done in-house for nothing (and the study still isn’t completed 9 months after engineering staff said they could have it done in two weeks... that was last March)? Why deliberately waste $200,000 by outsourcing (Express-Feeder) engineering to Smith Company when we had a fully qualified and equipped staff that could do it for nothing? Why waste $650,000 by deliberately and willfully circumventing a simple test required for insurance reimbursement?

These are well documented events and a reasonable person might wonder if this same maniacal behavior caused Ocala (former employer of our utility director) to be anointed with the dubious honor of having the highest utility rates in the state of Florida? Those high rates according to Ocala staff were NOT the product of high gas costs or inflated FMPA rates.

And let’s not forget that making friends by channeling hundreds of thousands of public money to corporate cash registers might be nothing more than hob-nobbing with folks who are well connected within the industry and could help land a lucrative job if you’re out of work… or it might be much more since unnecessarily outsourcing millions is likely to yield more than just casual benefit. But either way it doesn’t matter because whether or not money is passing under the table or shows up in an offshore account… the behavior is the same and as always… it’s the taxpayer who pays the bill for corruption ...especially when some political leaders are willing to look the other way.

This article comes from Lake Worth Media

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