January 29, 2007

NC Taxpayer dollars at work

A January 27, 2007 News and Observer article provides an interesting insight of some of the outrageous shenanigans that take place in state political circles at taxpayer expense.

Ann Lassiter, an Apex resident, was given a made-up job as house Historian with the state to allow her to do research allegedly about the history of North Carolina and work for nearly two years and be paid some $80,000 from your tax dollars. She had no experience as a historian and according to the article the 23 page report just released is essentially worthless and full of inaccuracies. It was released to the public domain by the new NC House Speaker Joe Hackney over the recommendation to not release it by Jim Black, the former Speaker (Black created the job for Mrs. Lassiter).

Wouldn't it be nice if those of us that don't have jobs could get these plum state jobs that legislators hand out to "friends"? Many such jobs are never advertised so the public cannot compete for them and many are created at the whim of privileged legislators. Surely if these jobs are legitimate and needed this could help provide employment for citizens needing work and could actually lead to good research and release of useful publications that both the legislators and citizens could use.

Read the complete news article and the published report.

News and Observer
January 27, 2007
Dan Kane and David Ingram, Staff Writers, News and Observer

Historian spent 20 months on 23 pages
NC Speaker Joe Hackney released the work commissioned by his predecessor, Jim Black.

After being paid roughly $80,000 for 20 months of work, state House Historian Ann Lassiter produced one completed report -- a 23-page history of the speaker's office that is filled with grammatical errors and makes factual blunders.
The man who commissioned it, former House Speaker Jim Black, declined to release it because he thought it was so poorly done. His successor, House Speaker Joe Hackney, decided Friday that it should be made public. Hackney also released four draft documents Lassiter produced that range from two to 19 pages. They were supposed to be part of a more comprehensive history of the House.

"It looked like it was a product produced with public money and its only possible use, if any, is for the public to read," said Hackney, an Orange County Democrat. "So there you have it." Read more...