I have seen governmental budgets abused at all levels — federal, state, county, and city. Not so much city because they are closer to public view and scrutiny. One federal agency (not to mention names, however a local agency) had a new unused sheet metal breaker. I had a project, which would have made good use of it. However I was told they did not have anyone trained or licensed to operate it. I asked then let’s train someone. I was told they could not do that. Again I queried, why? Because our tool budget was not all spent that year so we had to buy a tool so we would not lose next years budget!

I encountered a more bizarre, yet true, example at a county level. During the energy crisis in the 1970s, the Pima County Board of Supervisors challenged the facility's staff to economize its fuel use. One of the supervisors was clever and rode to the work sites with maintenance crews instead of his own county vehicle to be a winner in the challenge. He won, but lost. When the commissioners saw he cut back so much on his travel that it exceeded the need for a county auto, they took his vehicle away.

For a state example, Oregon State University kept a job open it did not intend to fill just to keep the budget.

The governmental budget system needs to be changed. One should be rewarded for staying under or within budget, not penalized.

Fred E. Shaub

Corvallis (Nov.26)

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