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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Wayward Bureaucrats

Bob McDowell
by Bob McDowell, Contributing Author: In a November issue of the daily Tulsa newspaper was a story headline: "Budget curtails trooper’s driving" by Barbara Hoberock, a regular World. The sub-head read: ". . . Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers can drive no more than 100 miles daily.”

The story reported that the “cost cutting” measures would take effect on December 1. Also, the ‘normal’ mileage would be from 150 to 200 per day. Further, the flight hours of the police aircraft “have been reduced.” And this was in addition to a stated “trooper hiring freeze, voluntary buyout, and not filling positions such as driver’s license examiners.” The article quoted the Commissioner of Public Safety as stating that these changes were necessary "to make it through fiscal year 2017."

It seems to me that whenever there is a shortage of funds, the cuts are made immediately in the places which most heavily affect the safety, convenience, and the well being of the general population. This means the citizens who pay taxes also pay the costs. One wonders just what these self serving bureaucrats are thinking. Do they think at all about others than themselves?

As a former county commissioner once started, "The first duty of government at any level is the safety, convenience, and well being of the population." It seems obvious to me that there are many other activities in State government where wasteful spending could be reduced or eliminated entirely which would not have an adverse effect on the citizen population.

But no, at all levels of government, the first thing that is done is to cut ‘truly needed’ services. It is obvious that this practice is a deliberate ploy to induce said population, and their elected representatives, to come forth with additional funding.

The results of these alleged cuts could mean more deaths on the highways and turnpikes simply because the trooper in the area of a crash might have already used up their daily allowed mileage and thus cannot respond to an emergency. Also without even a limited emergency assists, other vehicles could cause crashes by swerving to avoid accidents.

Incidentally, it is not universally known that in Oklahoma if a serious problem is observed, call *55 on the cell phone and you should be immediately connected to the nearest 911 station dispatcher. I’ve noticed in some other states it is necessary to call “911” or an “800" number to reach the highway patrol which could incur an unnecessary delay in reporting incidents. It has been necessary several times for me to use that number to report problems, actual crashes or ‘spin-outs.’ It also helps if the caller knows where he/she is by keeping track of the mile markers, present on turnpikes or on Interstate highways.

Incidentally, it was reported that a recent trip by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to New York to meet with President-elect Trump cost about $9,000 using her state owned aircraft. The pilots are members of the Highway Patrol. I don’t begrudge using the plane, since it probably saved her time, and her protection by the patrol is paramount was made easier.

It is hoped that the Oklahoma Legislature will take action next session to rein in some of the totally wasteful spending present in our State budget! The same can be said for all states. Are your legislators listening?
---------------
Robert "Bob" McDowell, Jr. is a retired Professional Engineer and Geologist with over 50 years experience in creating drilling prospects, supervising drilling, well completion, production operation, and pipeline design for oil and gas including repair of problem wells. McDowell is a conservative activist and member of the Oklahoma Republican Assembly. He Contributes opinion and commentary articles to the ARRA News Service.

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