Business

Running Government Like A Business

A couple of stories we have noticed recently in rural Idaho media show just how to run government like a business AND turn a tidy profit for government workers. Some are legal, some are crooked, and some just stink.

–The GUARDIAN detailed how Boise motorcycle coppers make $56 an hour using city equipment to patrol Boise County. It is all legal, but of no benefit to Boise taxpayers.

–The Idaho World in Idaho City has a story of former emergency services employee Gordon Ravenscroft sending a private firm consulting work when he owned the private outfit. The commishes dumped the guy and now he is suing for unlawful termination, claiming former commishes had approved the deal.

“According to Ravenscroft’s filing, the County asserts that Ravenscroft performed grant writing and administration work directly related to his duties as Emergency Management Director.  Ravenscroft was a full-time, regular county employee paid $44,773 annually. 

It is routine for county department heads to apply for and oversee grants for their departments. 

But here’s the kicker:  Ravenscroft also billed the County for writing, administering, and inspecting grant projects through his company, MCL Consulting.  Those invoices were paid by the County out of grant funds.
The Secretary of State’s business entity database reveals that Ravenscroft is listed as the President of MCL Consulting, LLC.  His wife, Theresa, is listed as Treasurer. 

According to records obtained from the county clerk, Boise County has paid invoices totaling $94,711.64 to MCL Consulting for grant services since Ravenscroft was hired in April, 2004.”

–Former Idaho Dept.of Environmental Quality staffer Jorge Garcia, 50, and Karen Damberg Garcia, 47, were sentenced Monday in federal court in Boise for conspiring to defraud the DEQ of grant funds that were intended to install diesel emission reduction equipment on school buses. Jorge Garcia was a project manager for the DEQ responsible for the bus diesel emission reduction project. Idaho DEQ paid the couple’s company more than $339,000.

–City of Kuna created an urban renewal district ahead of the July 1 date new laws go into effect in order to avoid a public vote. The tiny city consulted with Boise’s CCDC director Phil Kushlan prior to creation of the district. Now Kushlan, who is being paid $114,000 by Boise’s district as a consultant following his retirement, is a leading contender to direct the Kuna urban renewal program. The other candiate is former Boise City Councilor Jerome Mapp.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Rod in SE Boise
    Jun 25, 2011, 12:57 pm

    Scandals are getting to be like the weather – nobody DOES anything about them. More evidence that we just don’t need local and state government.

  2. Hubert Osborne
    Jun 25, 2011, 12:59 pm

    In the same newspaper that is advertising for the newly created UR position in Kuna the city has laid off a full time building inspectoor and put another on a part-time schedule. They also have reduced two planning workers schedules to half-time. Kushlan or Mapp as the case may be will severly crimp the wages of 4 workers–

  3. Apparently Ada is now Boise County. Very disturbing news about Idaho unethical if not crooked government employees. In Minnesota a Republican legislator in my district may have collected per diem pay on weekends and Easter. And this is the guy who wants to throw the poor and school kids under the bus so that the wealthy won’t have to pay higher taxes. Go figure. So it stinks.

  4. I feel like most folks are stuck in a rut with local government running rough-shod over taxpayers and no way to put a stop to all the goofy projects and purchases. They haven’t missed a beat in spending our money and taking tax increases.

    Meanwhile, those of us paying the bills for all this nonsense are getting squeezed more and more with each passing day. It is Tom Dale, Garret Nancolas, Dave Bieter, Tammy DeWierd or other politico telling us they are cutting to the bone and all I see are new cars, trucks, heavy equipment etc and endless projects that serve no needed or voter authorized purpose.

    I would add charter schools the mix as well. They are pillaging public school funds for local districts, building schools with not vote of the people, and creating debts and obligations that fall to local school patrons when they fold up shop. They are very poorly managed and if people want to send their kids to a private school fine but just don’t ask me to pay for it.

  5. I sure hope Kushlan washes his hands before eating. They are so dirty he might catch something really bad!!

  6. I’ve observed for years that we don’t have corruption in the common definition in Idaho because the large interest groups and the idea of supporting any kind of business is good for everyone. It’s happened for years and no one notices – Remember when the Legislature forgave Rex Rammel some rather large fines because it would be “bad for business…” A rather ironic thing is remembering how tax brakes over the years were given to Alberstons and Boise Cascade…Where are those companies now and where is the Idaho economy…

  7. Heard city of Boise public works employees use department equipment (truck, backhoe, trailer etc) to do side work on evenings on weekends. With the city bearing the cost of maintenance and depreciation on the equipment these employees have an unfair advantage over other companies. Employees also use their work with the city to know which residents need utility work done (residents calling with broken water lines, etc, also an unfair advantage)

    Take it with a grain of salt, worked with someone who is related to someone in public works….said they do it…..

    EDITOR NOTE–JJ, I hope you are wrong. We exposed this unethical practice nearly 6 years ago prompting a memo from the director CANCELING the “loaner policy” which was indeed in force. There is a new director now.

    EDITOR NOTE–From Public Works, “City policy strictly prohibits the use of equipment for personal reasons. Our operations division employees know they are subject to immediate dismissal if they take City property for personal use.”

  8. JJ – You state that City of Boise employees who use City equipment to do side work have an unfair advantage over other contractors.

    What is the factual basis for your claim, other than hurtful speculative rumor? If you know of a contractor willing to work for free (including heavy machinery), please let me know.

    City employees can borrow equipment at certain times, but only to perform not-for-profit type work. Dig up the yard (or the neighbor’s) and that’s okay. Charge to dig up someone’s yard, and that’s a violation.

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