posted on August 06, 2006 17:46
The State Ports Authority just took elected officials and selected ‘VIP’s’ on a cruise on a state ferry so they could watch the tall ships sail into Beaufort harbor on July 1st. The cost to taxpayers: $28,000. (News and Observer, 7/18/06; 7/27/06)
North Carolina’s Eastern Region, an economic development group funded by taxpayers, chipped in another $2,700 to pay for liquor.
Three of Governor Easley’s Cabinet Secretaries, his chairman of the Board of Transportation and a bevy legislators went on the cruise. DOT released photographs showing the VIP’s “gazing at the tall ships, sipping beer, wine and lemonade, listening to a steel drum band” and eating “shrimp, scallops, mussels and salmon.” The photographs, the Ports Authority says, were to give to their VIP guests “as a souvenir of their once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
What was Governor Easley’s reaction? Did he remove the head of the Ports Authority, or the Secretary of Transportation, or anyone else for wasting taxpayers’ money? No. He gave them a “scolding.”
This is par for the course for Governor Easley when something goes wrong. He puts his PR machine into high gear, dodges the fallout and does nothing. The Governor’s appointees waste thirty thousand dollars and the Governor, in effect, says, Boys, that was real bad… don’t do it again.
This is a triumph of politics over responsibility. What matters to the Governor is dodging the political consequences, and he’s done that – instead of holding those responsible for wasting state money to a strict standard of accountability.
Ethics in state Government starts at the top and the Governor sets the standard. Is a ‘scolding’ and a public wrist slap enough for wasting $30,000 of taxpayers’ money?
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