Waste, however small in scale, still waste

Last evening’s FOX 45 News Cover Story focused on our tax dollars at work providing top officials security and state drivers.
Surprisingly, state law requires the Governor and Lt. Governor have a security detail and driver. Others?
Recently, State Comptroller Franchot (& party) visited a Bel Air new high school on a good will journey via a state car and state driver.
Franchot was quoted saying – “We want to make sure that money is spent efficiently, without waste.” “Actually we want to see how state dollars are spent.” “I think it’s important to have good protection and efficient transportation.”

Fox45 watched the Comptroller’s protection sit in the vehicle, waiting for 20 minutes. Never stepping out of the car. Except to open the door for Franchot.

Del. Anthony O’Donnel (R) Dict 29C also stated, “People are having a hard time paying electric bills, they don’t want to see someone being driven around …”
“Things like this kind of highlight the waste that goes on here.”

Dept of Legislative Services estimates over $3.4 million a year for driving and protecting a select group of elected state officials.

Most do not know that the Attorney General, Comptroller and State Treasurer all receive executive protection. The Senate President and Speaker of the House are entitled to year-round legislative security & drivers. A legislative session only lasts 90 days.

Christopher Summers, President of the MD Public Policy Institute says, “Why does the Speaker, Comptroller and Treasurer require a security detail and drivers?”

Each of the 42 Troopers assigned earn about $100K per year, which includes the benefits.
Franchot – “This is a very important way of getting around the state.”

But wasteful, according to Chris Summers.
“It sort of highlights the arrogance in Annapolis.”

It’s not just lawmakers who enjoy drivers. Drivers are also assigned to:
Univ System of MD Chancellor & President, 3 Univ MD campuses, Morgan State, St. Mary’s College and members of the state’s judiciary branch.

Del. O’Donnel introduced legislation in last session to prohibit any official, except for the Gov & Lt Gov, from using or receiving state police chauffeured transportation. The bill stalled in the House after failing to gain traction.

Dept of Legislative Services analysis of state agencies using tax dollars for chauffeured transportation found that getting rid of the drivers would only have a “minimal impact” on state expenditures.

Del. O’Donnel says that is not an excuse. “People need to know we are trying to save the taxpayer every nickel and dime possible.”

Franchot has said the he would not have a problem driving himself around the state of Maryland if lawmakers said so.

The state reimburses its employees $.55 per mile if they use their own vehicles for official business.

Excessive? I think so. One has to start cutting back somewhere.