We don’t want the government run like the private sector

GM Government Made

Government should be run like a business – like the private sector! How often have we heard that one?

Except, that is for sunshine laws, open meeting laws, public bidding laws, mandatory civil service rules and payroll information that is. And never mind that currently the landscape is littered with the bodies of private sector operations that failed due to the excesses of bad management practices. Names that come to mind include AIG, General Motors, Merrill Lynch, Mervyns, Circuit City, and the list goes on.

One of the most recent examples of the schizophrenia that exists with those who bemoan the bureaucracy and inefficiency of government is that at the very same time many of the same people demand that information that in the private sector would remain private be made public because it is government information. The current pursuit of public pension payout information comes to mind.

The August 24 Register story on Page 1 of the Local News section titled “Board keeps mum about pension” is a good presentation of the perspective that public employees, even when retired, do not have the right to privacy that private sector employees are entitled too. It reports that the Register is seeking retiree payroll information from the County retirement system and so far that system is saying no.

The media and at least one taxpayer group have been pursing payroll information for retired public sector employees throughout the State. Where that information has been obtained, some of it has been published or posted on a web site including the name of the retiree or if deceased of the surviving spouse. Like Orange County, some public sector retirement systems have said no, citing State laws they believe limits their ability to release that information even if they wanted to.

In the case of one California County, Contra Costa County, a local court has ruled that the information should be released because the public has a right to know when taxpayer dollars are involved. The release of that information is imminent there. Doubtful, however, you will ever see a listing of retiree earnings, by name of the retiree, for private sector organizations other than perhaps for a few disgraced CEO’s.

So, we do we really want government to be run like the private sector? Seems like we want it both ways.


About Over But Not Out

A retired Orange County employee, and moderate Republican. The editor seriously does not know OBNO's identity as did not the former editor, but his point of view is obviously interesting and valued.