State agencies not playing by rules

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 27, 2013

State leaders have been crying austerity and preaching fiscal responsibility, but it’s apparent they are not necessarily heeding their own words.
Also, some state agencies have either not received the message or have simply elected to ignore it.
Despite the state freezing raises, with leaders claiming funding is not available, some agencies have apparently become creative in devising ways to skirt the policy.  Some administrators, including those overseeing the governor’s staff, have deftly taken advantage of a number of financial vehicles at their disposal to justify the raises, including, but not limited to, promotions, change of work classification or additional of job responsibilities.  
The inequity of some employees receiving raises while others have been depositing the same amount for years is perhaps inequitable but shrouds the bigger picture.
More importantly, while raises are being approved, healthcare and education services are being shredded, sending thousands to the unemployment line. Ferry services are being disrupted all along the Mississippi River, to the point where the historic Reserve/Edgard ferry may cease operation, leaving St. John the Baptist Parish without a river crossing.
On local levels, parishes continue to struggle to make ends meet, handcuffed by inflated state mandated expenses.
Yet, while a parish health care center may close, a road goes unpaved or a school system is underfunded, some workers are going into a higher tax bracket.
The practice by some of using selective reasoning to grant raises is unacceptable, especially when others are being handed pink slips seemingly daily and students are frantically trying to pinch pennies to pay higher tuition costs.
This has to come to an immediate stop.
Louisiana faces an arduous financial journey for many years, if one is to believe some lawmakers and pundits. Assuming such a bleak future, pay raises should not even be considered and at the minimum relegated to the bottom of the pile.
Corporate America is constantly demanding employees to do more with less, and the state government should be no different. After all, they are spending taxpayer dollars so sound financial stewardship has to be the expectation and not a dream.