Saturday, February 23, 2013

Our Generous Assembly

I was struck by a recent article by Michael Dresser in the Baltimore Sun noting a joint letter from State Senators Nancy King (D) and David Brinkley (R) criticizing Comptroller Peter Franchot for traveling across the state and giving out "questionably invented awards", painting this as an unjustified "taxpayer financed expense".

These awards are noted in the article as follows:

The Schaefer Award is named after the late William Donald Schaefer, the onetime Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor whom Franchot unseated as comptroller in 2006. According to the Comptroller’s Office, it is given to people and organizations that help improve their communities, solve citizens’ problems and help vulnerable individuals.

The Better With Less award recognizes businesses and nonprofits that succeed in a bad economy through “efficiency and innovation.” 

The Golden Apple Award is for school volunteers, and the Silver Hammer Award is for “superior school maintenance.”

Although the King-Brinkley letter does not project out what the expense of travel may be, and requests information related to the same, the Comptroller has responded that he will produce his records and estimates it would come out to less than $5,000.

I've known about these awards for some time, have nominated people for these awards, and am happy they exist.  These awards recognize the day-to-day trench work that rarely is appreciated, does not present material reward, and otherwise merits our praise when performed above and beyond the call of duty. 

All the same, I am glad we have Senators King and Brinkley looking out for the taxpayer bottom line and would recommend a slightly more worthwhile use of their time -- stop awarding patronage scholarships.

Senator Nancy King would like you to know that if you live in District 39 in District 39, you too could be one of the lucky District 39 recipients of up to $138,000 in Patronage Scholarships:

Oh, but it's not just a Democrat thing!  Senator Brinkley would also like District 4 residents know that he has his pot of $138,000 to spend on...District 4 residents:

Senators King and Brinkley are right.  Let's cut the fat.  But how about we leave non-monetary pat-on-the-back awards for small business owners, school volunteers, and maintenance workers alone for now.  Let's start with the $11.8 million tax-payers spend every year for Patronage Scholarships and work down from there.