Reading this story just ticked me off. I believe our public institutions have a higher standard of operations that they need to be held to because A) they are usually monopolies, and B) they operate using public funds. That is, you and I pay for their services regardless of whether or not we benefit directly from them.
Mismanagement of these agencies, be they Federal, State, Municipal or Contracted to any level of government is not acceptable. I believe it is criminal for any of them to operate a deficit budget and that spending more than is budgeted or failing to meet their obligations, financial or charter must be dealt with in the same manner as any private enterprise. Managers – especially those equivalent to VP level or above – must be held liable for the failure of their entity to perform. Just as they enjoy the perks, power and prestige of overseeing such important institutions, so must they bear the responsibility when they – or their employees – do a poor job of it.
In the case of deficit budgets or failure to pay, why not dock the management team on a percentage basis equivalent to the overage? i.e. if an agency runs a deficit equivalent to 10% of their budget, then the management team not only needs to rectify that situation for the next year (if they aren’t arrested as this shouldn’t be legal in the first place) but they also lose 10% of their earnings – salary, bonus, equivalence in pension, equivalence in provided automobile, everything.
Having an open spigot of taxpayer funds to continue to backfill poorly managed institutions is a recipe for disaster. And why are the management teams allowed to continue doing such an obviously poor job?
Of course, the above assumes that we have generally agreed upon accounting practices which, ridiculously in 21st century America, we don’t.
I’m sorry, but our Congress, rather than wringing their hands and worrying about so much trivial legislation as they are wont to do these days, needs to get off their sorry behinds and HIRE some advisers to establish such accounting practices, amend the constitution such that the Federal government needs to balance books and follow those practices. Then they need to put before the states the option (I can’t get myself to agree to the feds forcing this upon the states by fiat) to follow suit. State lawmakers, rather than hosting silly “rain vigils” and other feelgood crap can set about cleaning out their own practices. And so on down the line through to the lowest levels of government.