EDGAR CO -
Our recent Fox in the Hen House article lead to an accusation of Nitpicking and the more we thought about it, the more we realized the importance of a follow up story! Thanks to Joe Citizen for their comments as once again we have been inspired to dig a little deeper, (Nitpick)!
“Nitpicking is the act of removing nits (the eggs of lice, generally head lice) from the host's hair. As the nits are cemented to individual hairs, they cannot be removed with most lice combs and, before modern chemical methods were invented, the only options were to shave all the host's hair or to pick them free one by one.
This is a slow and laborious process, as the root of each individual hair must be examined for infestation. It was largely abandoned as modern chemical methods became available; however, as lice populations can and do develop resistance, manual nitpicking is still often necessary.
As nitpicking inherently requires fastidious, meticulous attention to detail, the term has become appropriated to describe the practice of meticulously searching for minor, even trivial errors in detail (often referred to as "nits" as well),” Nitpicking
The Watchdogs have gone to great pain to ensure we are meticulous in our research and gathering of facts in order to be able to stand behind everything we print. We are doing work similar to what a “good” auditor would do. Cross referencing minutes with payments, invoices, and then the statutes for each organization we are reporting on so that we have the full understanding of what that particular public body is allowed to do with our money!
In many cases, just like nits, the pattern of ignoring the law is cemented into many facets of our local government and we fully intend to expose that culture one public body at a time. It would be nice if we could simply SHAVE all of it away but thats not possible considering the use of what appears to be super glue holding it together in this county.
What happens when we allow our local government to remove free enterprise from our society or force a monopoly on the people? We saw that done recently with the restriction of trash haulers in the city, which lead to the resignation of a board member over his disgust at that action! Resignation Story
What would you call a government that basically forbids competitiveness in its community? Communism? Marxism? Socialism? We could spend days on that question but the point is, when you take out the competitive process from a government that is principled around free enterprise you create more problems than you realize.
We know from our FOIA request to the City of Paris there has never been a bid process for the hiring of Francis Associates. One brief study of payments to that company and B&T Drainage reveals more questions than we have time for, but for the sake of nitpicking, ask yourself why the people of Paris should have to pay $72,013.50 to open and close water line valves in their city! Francis Associates Payment History - B&T Drainage Payments
Francis Associates: Total: $32,713.50
2009 - $28, 721.50
B&T Drainage: 2009 - $39,300.00
$68,021.50 just in the fall of 2009!
We know from our FOIA the work of opening and closing valves, what was billed as exercising valves, was done based on City Commissioner Faulk’s request. I wonder where he got that idea from????
The City also had Francis Associates do GIS (geographic information system) Mapping of the valves during the process as apparently no one knew where they were all at, which raises more concern as to who is watching the hen house (the city). GIS Mapping payments reflect another $25,741.51 being paid to Francis Associates, with no bidding required and no contract!
With a team of City employees I wonder how long it would take them to open and close every valve in the city if that was included as part of their work detail? Wouldn’t that save the city a substantial amount of money?
Ok, I know the Mayor and his son are overworked as it is so we won’t burden them with piling on any other work. Let’s instead simply put the job out for bids and see what kind of response we get?
Personally, I would open and close every valve in the city water system twice for half of what they paid Francis Associates and B&T Drainage, but I digress. This is not about what I would or would not do. It’s about what We The People are allowing to be done with our tax dollars.
Do you think it’s fair and just to pay out this kind of money to the same people over and over without competitive bids? Is it wrong to strive to save the people’s money by at least bidding it out for others who might be able to do the same work for substantially less money? Isn’t that what our elected officials are supposed to be doing? Where is the stewardship of our money?
You may relate to this simple process in your day to day life with things like cell phone companies and satellite TV. Many will switch to another service because it’s cheaper. We do it with insurance companies regularly. Stick with one to long and before you know it you’re paying a fortune because they realize you’re not paying attention and your rates skyrocket. We keep that in check by switching carriers.
How does the City of Paris keep this in check? They can’t when they NEVER put it out for a proper bid. It would appear for the most part they have abandoned the concept of Free Enterprise and ignore that it is capitalisms competitive nature that makes this country great and successful.
The potential of this great country is being constricted with nepotism and cronyism at every level. When that happens the decay begins, from the infrastructure to the social fiber of who we are as a people.
I have interviewed hundreds of people and it’s shocking to see how many agree with everything we are doing but are afraid to stand up and fight for fear of losing their jobs. I want those people to know we understand and we are not going away. We will continue to investigate your overwhelming number of tips and be your voice as we are not going to be intimidated.
Rest assured we are making a difference, slowly but surely! God Bless all of you for your continued support!