Saturday, October 28, 2006

real world fiscal irresponsibility

As I went through this morning's News Journal, I came across three related stories. Not related by an article in the Journal, but related by a concept... fiscal irresponsibility:

State Police fail to track sex offenders. While Colonel Thomas Macleish was correct in his statement that "It's [his] responsibility", the root cause of the problem was the fiscal irresponsibility of the executive and legislative branches to fund a law they passed. While they are quick to respond to the fickle public's hue and cry to address an issue, they fail when it comes to the part about putting the money where their law is. It's all well and good to say that the State Police are to perform certain additional tasks, but the cold reality of it is that it means that we actually have to pay an employee to do it. The State government falls down on this reality check in many many places, every single day.

Public Defenders urged to draw the line. The Delaware Public Defenders and contract (conflict) attorneys have been advised that, from an ethics perspective they should refuse to accept cases when to accept the cases would overburden their case load and diminish their ability to provide adequate legal representation. I salute Monroe Freedman for this advice. Here again, the State government has been ducking and covering the real fiscal issues for as long as I can remember, and I am sure a lot longer than that. I have written several times about how appointed counsel for the patients at the Delaware Psychiatric Center are drastically under paid for the hours that it takes them to provide adequate legal representation. I'm not talking dream team here, I'm talking just the basics. I have personally seen these problems throughout our government. After many attempts to correct these problems from the inside, I came to the conclusion that for an attorney to continue to function under an under-funded situation that prevents him or her from providing adequate legal counsel to the clients, is to be an enabler for the fiscal irresponsibility in the government. And that, in and of itself is irresponsible and unethical.

We are still hearing reverberations from the fiscal irresponsibility of the Christina School District. And I deplore what they have done. But again, there is a fundamental root problem that is worse yet. Why is it that we have dozens upon dozens of school administrative positions, all paid well into the 6 figures (and with additional multi-thousand dollar automobile reimbursement contract benefits) when other states can do just as bad of a job with just one administrator (for a school population size comparable to Delaware). We are being irresponsible by allowing these administrative leeches to suck the life out of our childrens' education system. We don't need more than three school districts in this State... and that's stretching it. We could get away with only one district. But instead, we are paying many millions of dollars every year to fund dozens of duplicate administrative districts. And look at the ethics of the people who we are paying these millions of dollars to... today's News journal article is about the Newark High School principal and how he is a finalist for a job in Alabama. Didn't I read recently that he said he isn't going anywhere? That was when a story broke about him being considered for a Maryland job. Oh my! He must be such a leader in the educational field that schools across the country are beating down his door... without him applying. Does he think we are ignorant? I suppose from a school administrator's position we must be. We are ignorant to pay so much for so little.

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