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Monday, December 19, 2011

Bureaucrat junketeers, cont'd

As we mentioned yesterday, the O ran a long-ish piece over the weekend detailing the outlandish amounts of taxpayer-funded travel undertaken by state government employees. This inspired one of the critics of the Portland water bureau to pipe up with a tale of some spendy travel this past spring by city water employees. A delegation of no fewer than 10 water bureau types schlepped to Washington, D.C. for the annual meeting of the American Water Works Association, and the tab came to more than $29,000.

Here's the spreadsheet that the city released in response to a public records request. Lodging costs ran an average of $1,285 for each of the 10, and that included a slight discount that the city got because one of its employees, Anne Hill, gave a talk at the confab about the city's infamous "water house" project, which of course is now being challenged in court as an illegal expenditure of ratepayer dollars.

That speech by Hill -- "The Power of Partnerships" -- has been making the rounds for a while. Here's a version of it that she gave in October 2010. At the end, she identifies herself as a "principle management analyst." Uh huh. The city's main "partner" is something called Earth Advantage, Inc., a nonprofit organization spun off from Portland General Electric.

Comments (5)

If she can manage principle, she's hot.

"The city's main "partner" is something called Earth Advantage, Inc., a nonprofit organization spun off from Portland General Electric."

Earth Advantage is one of the main groups pushing for the construction of the Oregon Sustainability Center, of course. They have a $1.4 million Federal grant "that will fund an energy efficiency retrofit pilot program for homeowners across four states". (Not bad for an organization with a $2.8 million budget.)

From Earth Advantage's web page:

"Earth Advantage Institute works with its partners and through federal and state grants to conduct industry research, surveys and data collection on pressing topics related to green building, energy behavior, and climate change."

Not a bad deal - the governments provide money to nonprofits, the nonprofits lobby the government to spend more money on "sustainability" and whatnot, and the governments accede, citing "public pressure", which then provides more money to the nonprofits.

Stuhr: $145,131
Koch: $128,702
Peters: $123,300
Kipper: $123,084
Yezman: $111,229
Hofeld; $98,852
Hill (speaker): $96,295
Evers: $68,624
Drath: $58,132
Howlett: $51,705

Actually, the Water Bureau sending only ten employees to the annual AWWA boondoggle is far less than the 15 to 20 employees that usually attend. This year's location must not have been as attractive for an all expenses paid vacation as those in previous years. Just another way to spend other peoples money.

I guess I'd rather go upstream and ask how much of this travel is necessary at all.

I mean a lot of places are doing video-conferencing pretty effectively - Not to mention a BIG reduction in carbon footprint.

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