Myth: Vendor Overcharges To Government (Part 3)

Posted on April 10, 2013. Filed under: Journalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

7th in the series The Manipulators

Life’s Prime Directive:  Every living thing shall attempt to manipulate events, circumstances, behaviors, and social structures to favor its own narrow interests in the struggle to exist.  The only judgment that LIFE places on living entities is the failure to keep existing.  (Okay, it has been said before more bluntlyIt’s all about survival of the strongest.)

Your words for the day: 

  • unbelievable = possessing the property of being too incredulous to be believed
  • red herring = a literary device designed to throw the reader off the trail of plot progression; a diversion or decoy
  • math = the science of using mathematics to figure things out; numeric logic

Clarification of my objective:  These articles, from my slant, paint a negative picture of a specific local government and a specific writer and his media venue.  I hold no personal animosity toward those entities.  However, I do have an animosity toward skewed logic and claims that have the objective to actively bend my personal views (and those of the general public) to enhance the standings of others as they hide their own inadequacies or seek to garner awards and salary increases to further their own life-goals.  You know, using the Prime Directive at my expense.

I am aware that there may be other information “out there” that could render my observations on this Media story as way off the mark.  My focus on THIS journalistic venture of Jack-Hass is limited solely to the information that has been provided within the article and the apparent reason it has been presented in such a caustic vein toward private business.  My presentation is to show that Media seeks to MAKE public opinion, not to simply apprise the public of current events, and, that journalistic endeavors are often based on the ignorance of both the public and the paid story-tellers.

O-kay!  I feel so much more morally superior, now.  Let’s get on with my Media bashing.

Jack-Hass is just a writer.  He has been trained to “drop names” and high-sounding titles into his articles to enhance the importance of his words.  My!  Oh, my, has he dropped a bunch into this story to lend it a semblance of credibility:  City Auditor, City Controller, Mayor, and several other non-associated Government Entities.  They are invoked as though they are the benchmarks of irreproachable accuracy, and yet, political malfeasance is another staple of Media hot-button focus.

While not necessarily “malfeasance,” incompetence certainly seems to apply.  If lapses in bureaucratic protocol were occasional, that is certainly understandable.  We are all human, and, we often lose our focus.  That is why business has so many built-in backup steps (per my previous posting, specifically purchase orders and invoicing).  But, I am totally blown away by the magnitude of this bureaucratic gaff, and the joint journalistic-bureaucratic glossing that seeks to paint the vendor as the bad guy.

Can you believe…

  • 300,000 instances of poorly documented transfers of private product and TAXPAYER MONEY — under a single contract?
  • That a City Auditor would wait 4 years before auditing a major supplier ($75,000 or so per week) against the city’s accounting protocols?
  • That such interest in the accounting protocols only took place after the Auditor heard that other Government Entities were fairly successful in getting retroactive rebates from the same supplier?
  • That an auditor could not determine whether the alleged overcharges were on the order $1.7 million or $6.5 million, and simply summarized, without corroborating documents, that “the city is owed a lot of money?
  • That a city accounting department would pay out $19.2 million without EVER checking to see if the invoicing was as it thought it should be?

Can you believe that a (reputed) journalist would ignore such bureaucratic mis-steps and opt, instead, to cow-tow to the biased, self-serving slant of the reluctant City Auditor?  (Well, that would be the path of least work…   resistance…   I mean “the path of least resistance”.  Why do investigative work?  Just take what the important-sounding City Auditor said and print it up.)

  • Accounting did not do its job for over 4 years.
  • The City Auditor did not do his job for over 4 years.
  • The City of Houston has been short on cash for years; an inept auditor could enhance his standing by dredging up some hard cash when it occurred to him to do his job.  Hell, he might even get the Controller’s job; after all, the Controller bears final responsibility for the city’s financial accounting — or, in this case, NON-accounting.
  • An inept City Auditor who finally thinks he’s onto something needs to get the spotlight on someone else so that his own shortcomings are not in the limelight.

How absurd can this get?  Let’s do some math.  252 weeks of a contract with 300,000 financial transactions during that time totaling $19.2 millionthat’s the raw data.  The extended data is that the average of each transaction is $64.00 ($19,200,000 divided by 300,000), with 1,190 of them per week (300,000 divided by 252 weeks).  This was business as usual for untold numbers of city employees charged with accountability of TAXPAYER MONEY.

The REALLY ABSURD part?  A series of $64 transactions (over 1,000 of them each week for 252 weeks) that — according to the City Auditor — resulted in $6.6 million of overcharges…   or, maybe it’s only $1.7 million.  I guess it just depends on how you calculate it.

And, just how does the US Communities thing fit into all of this?  My code name for US Communities will be “George.”

Next up:  Myth (Part 4) Let George do it

 

Advertisements

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: