When I was a Federal Director, supervisors would come into my office and ask permission to hire temporary employees to do their jobs. I would tell them I didn’t want temporary employees doing their jobs, I wanted them doing their jobs. There I was being intransigent and narrow-minded when it would be no skin off my nose. My staff would like me and I had plenty of funds in my budget.
I can tell you that I was a very uncommon government administrator. I felt like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike. There is no incentive to be frugal in government. On the contrary, there seems to be a pervasive attitude of maximizing spending and growth. The last year I worked for the Federal Government I had $100,000 in my civilian pay budget I didn’t need. I could have converted the funds and bought an luxurious new desk or motivational art for the walls. I turned back the funds I didn’t need and some other Director eagerly spent them on something he didn’t need. In the nonsensical land of government, he was the hero.
I am pretty sure this sort of thing occurs in every branch of Arkansas Government. I don’t think we are getting a day’s work for a day’s pay. More money and more employees are solutions to problems rather than leadership, innovation and management. If the Arkansas Crime Lab can’t produce and trim expenses, it has a leadership problem. The same goes for every single Department. Arkansas has 63,484 Full Time Equivalent Employees while Mississippi has 56,858 and Kansas has 43,824. Mississippi is the next larger state and Kansas is the next smaller.
If Arkansas will compete, we won’t be losing factories to Georgia and Texas, they will beat a path to our door. That will take vision, courage and leadership. There will be no support from the liberal media or government unions.