Am I Being Too Optimistic…
… or does it seem as if things are starting to roll, just a bit:
Denouncing as “outrageous” the 145.99-percent markup the state has been paying a private company to staff the traffic-monitoring center across the street from the State House, Governor Carcieri yesterday initiated an inquiry into “all state contracts that involve the retention of professional services.”
He also announced that the company, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, had agreed after a telephone call yesterday from state transportation director Jerome Williams to slash its overhead-and-profit rate to 22.5 percent for those among the 36 workers doing largely “administrative” tasks — including the “typist” for whom the state had been paying the company the equivalent of $102,858.
Saying he was unaware of the VHB staffing contract until it was brought to light by The Providence Journal this week, Carcieri said he has now asked Gerald Aubin, the former deputy Providence police chief who heads the state Lottery, to lead a task force charged with finding out whether any other “similarly outrageous arrangements might exist in other departments of state government.”
The governor said he had asked Aubin “to review all these contracts to determine if the state is paying similar overhead rates in any other instance, to compile a comprehensive list of these contracts and their costs, and to determine what, if any, work would better be performed by state employees.”
Not to assume too much about a man whom I don’t know, but I get the impression of faux cluelessness from this:
Asked yesterday for comment on Carcieri calling for an investigation of professional-services contracts, Sen. J. Michael Lenihan, the East Greenwich Democrat leading the Senate inquiry, said:: “Well quite honestly, it’s an absurd situation. It merits investigation.
“I guess my question is, whatever the role of the federal government in terms of mandating this kind of thing, didn’t somebody have the common sense somewhere along the line to say — ‘Wait a minute. This is absurd.’ — and call it into question. Apparently that didn’t happen.”
It didn’t happen because government employees in Rhode Island — including those whom we elect — see their role as ruling the state, not representing the interests of its citizens. The real question is whether enough of those citizens will wake up before too many flee to avert catastrophe.i