Sunday letters: Public paying for poor stewardship

April 28, 2013 

— It just gets worse and worse, the poor management, the lack of accountability on the part of Columbia city government. Everyone I know who wanted to buy some retirement time from the State Retirement System had to pay for it themselves. Their employers, that is, the taxpayers, did not pay for it.

So why did Police Chief Randy Scott’s employer, the taxpayers, buy Mr. Scott an early retirement? Will the beat cops get the same offer? Seems to me it ought to be illegal in the public sector to pay management’s benefits and not pay for the same benefit for hourly workers.

First we are out more than $80 million — shifted into the general fund since 1999 — for water and sewer infrastructure, for which we now face a huge rate “change,” as the notice calls it, along with the minimum million-dollar fine the EPA might assess for sewage problems, which could have been avoided had the money been spent as it was supposed to have been. Now we get stuck helping someone with a decent salary retire early.

The water and sewer notice is so upbeat. “The City is ‘changing’ its water and sewer rates. … Like many cities in the U.S., the City of Columbia is ‘investing’ in improving … aging infrastructure … service to you.” I wonder how much we paid a public relations person to write that. Where did that $80 million that should have been spent on the aging infrastructure go? Those entities that benefitted from this misappropriation should have equal amounts removed from their budgets, thus eliminating the need for such a large “change.”

Leo Bloschock


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