Some city halls working for the (long) weekend

By   /  August 20, 2014  /  Accountability, community, Local Government, Minnesota, News, Transparency  /  No Comments

Weekend

Nine western Twin Cities suburbs might as well post a ‘gone fishing’ sign on City Hall doors each Friday afternoon during summer. Closed for business. Come back Monday. Took dog to vet.

“The justification for summer hours was to make our city hall hours comparable with surrounding lake communities and due to the fact that Fridays have always historically been quieter days in terms of residents calling or stopping by city hall,” Dana Young, city administrator, clerk and treasurer for Deephaven, said in an email.

“Obviously, our administrative staff has also come to love summer hours, so that it has also evolved into somewhat of an employee benefit.”

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Citizens flay Virginia’s debt-ridden King George County

By   /  August 20, 2014  /  Accountability, Government Waste, News, Virginia  /  No Comments

REFORMER: Supervisor Ruby Brabo clashes with fellow board members over tourism and fiscal issues. She conducts workshops to educate and motivate prospective political candidates.

King George County, a rural enclave of 25,000 people, has racked up $100 million in debt with a spending spree on new public buildings.

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$15 billion in unfunded county debts go dark in Virginia

By   /  August 15, 2014  /  Accountability, Budget and Spending, Local Government, News, Open Records, Virginia  /  No Comments

LICENSE TO PRINT MONEY:  Virginia's auditing agency is no longer disclosing the unfunded debt of counties and municipalities. At last report, the figure topped $15 billion.

 
By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia has stopped reporting billions of dollars in unfunded county debts, leaving the public in the dark about the depth of the red ink.
The last online report by the state Auditor of Public Accounts showed that Virginia’s 95 counties had piled up $15.4 billion — $15,474,494,443 to [...]

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Federal agencies spend millions on union business

By   /  August 11, 2014  /  Accountability, Congress, Federal Government, IRS, National, News  /  No Comments

SERVING YOU?: In 2011, the American Federation of Government Employees sued to prevent essential employees from working during a threatened shutdown.

The Internal Revenue Service isn’t the only federal agency where hundreds of employees do union business full-time on the public’s dime.

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In Minnesota, conservatives and progressives score victory over abusive forfeiture laws

By   /  August 7, 2014  /  Abuse of power, Accountability, Issues, Minnesota, News, Power Abuse, State Government  /  No Comments

SEIZED: Police are allowed to seize property, including cash, that they believe may have been purchased with drug money or is illegal for other reasons. In Minnesota, they will have to get a criminal conviction first.

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org
MINNEAPOLIS – In 2007, police officers working on an anti-gang strike force in the Twin Cities’ metro area pulled over a man driving a motorcycle, allegedly because he was speeding.
A subsequent search turned up a small amount of marijuana and $1,306 in cash. The police seized the drugs, the money and [...]

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GAO: Pentagon should explain why it needs $500B in taxes annually

By   /  August 5, 2014  /  Accountability, Audits, Budget and Spending, Federal Government, Finances, Government Waste, Issues, National, News  /  No Comments

NO COMPREHENSIVE MISSION PLAN: Auditors at the GAO say the Department of Defense failed to give Congress most of the information it is supposed to provide in a once-every-four-years briefing on mission and roles.

The Department of Defense soaks up more than half of all the United States’ discretionary spending — and that doesn’t even take into account the off-the-books spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — but all that money can’t buy a clear purpose or mission statement.

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