Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Saving the toughest ones for last

The two budgets that will be the last to finish will be Department of Human Services (DHS) and Transportation. Each has one major sticking point.

DHS is a matter of whether we are going to privatize foster care. About half of the state's children who are in foster care are cared for by the state, the other half are under private care. We should privatize the whole thing because privates are more effective, from a personal and a fiscal perspective. The unions do not want to give up those employees. We will see how it shakes out.

Transportation is a question of whether to complete the DRIC project study. DRIC is the Detroit River International Crossing, a second bridge to supplement the Ambassador. I just wrote a newsletter on this. Bottom line is, the Ambassador bridge's owner can build a second span for under $1 billion in private money. The Dept. of Transportation (DOT) wants to build a new bridge with up to $3 billion in public money. A study is currently under way, courtesy of the taxpayers to evaluate (or should I say justify) public expenditure for a new bridge. The Senate is trying to cancel the rest of the study and let the private developer build the new bridge, when it is needed.


Alan Stamm said...

Rep. Hoogendyk:

Well-said, with just one minor clarification: The seemingly endless process under way at great taxpayer expense is the Detroit River International Crossing study.

I hope you and your colleagues rein in this runaway example of bureaucratic inertia.

Alan Stamm
Birmingham, MI

Anonymous said...

I am sad to see cuts to the veterans. The Michigan Natl Guard is always first responders to disasters such as the tornado damage in Frankenmuth several years ago. Also, many Natl Guard troops have been in Iraq, and we do not support them when they return. I am glad that the research part of state universities got some funding, but the vets need to have their funding stay the same.

Also, my sister works at DHS. They have multi and complex computer systems that are slow. That contributes to poor productivity. Service staff that work with children do a tremendous job under stressful conditions.

One part that workers have is that in a couple of offices, policy is not followed and workers that follow the rules are told that they use rules against the clients. It is not that; they are just following what policy says to do. That is one of the reasons Michigan is behind other states in getting people to work. Emergency funds have been approved for some things that are not in policy and bosses tell staff to do it. One worker had to approve for a utility shutoff when the client got the service illegally. If policy was followed and clients had to pay something, then less state monies might be needed.

wolflady48884 said...

Policy and procedure holds the effect of law to workers and supervisors. These are used for toilet paper in the offices. Policies are not followed in dependency cases and yes they are told to use against clients and children.

They do not follow federal mandates at all under Title IV of the Social Security Act and no one and I mean absolutely no one will hold them accountable. Just read the Auditor General's latest audit if you really want to know what a mess this department is.

And their new Director will be no better than the last 3.