Thursday, August 27, 2009

Consulting for dollars

Lake Charles American Press columnist Jim Beam makes an exceptionally bright observation in this column. It exposes the hypocrisy of a modern governing style that argues on one hand for hiring exceptional people to manage the public's business, but on the other for contracting out that same public business because the people we hire just aren't smart enough.

In the education arena, it works like this: Governor Bobby Jindal explains that Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek's $400,000 pay package is a good investment for the state because that is the going rate for a public servant of his caliber. Pastorek explains that the cadre of $100,000-plus educators in his administration are worthy because of the value they bring the department.

But then Pastorek gets permission to spend googobs for even more high-priced bureaucrats and consultants: "Three of those jobs will go to national experts making up to $140,000 a year. The other three will be consultants making up to $80,000 a year."

The experts we already have aren't enough?

Asks Beam:
Why look elsewhere when someone already on the payroll is competent,
experienced and well qualified to handle the
job? Consultants and search firms may have a role to
play, but they don’t have all the answers. Before looking elsewhere for
expensive advice from outsiders, the state should first tap its own employees
and resources. They have a lot to offer.

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