Archive for March, 2008

Per diem BS

March 27, 2008

Not only did the WV Legislature vote itself a pay raise, it also increased it’s per diem allowance (travel and meal expenses) retroactively. While the pay raise kicks in next session, they’ll be getting back pay on the per diem to the start of the session.

I wonder how many take the full amount per day, because that’s not the way it’s supposed to work.

According to the travel regs:

5.1.1 Allowable reimbursement for lodging shall include the actual expenses for overnight accommodations and all applicable taxes and surcharges.

6.1 Meal expense reimbursement is limited to actual expenses for food, service and gratuities, not to exceed the Authorized Daily Rates as established by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). Specifically excluded are alcoholic beverages and entertainment expenses.

There’s a lot more to the regs, but it’s often assumed that travelers just get the full amount each day. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work; that’s only the maximum you’re allowed to spend. When folks take the max, they’re just pocketing any profit.

Also note that booze is not an allowable expense.

How many cops?

March 25, 2008

…does is take to handle a fender bender? In Kanawha County, apparently, it’s always one more.

Rear-ender at the Greenbrier Street on-ramp to I-64 westbound. Car hits van in rear, everybody out of their cars, nobody hurt, cars are off the road and traffic moving smoothly. Three Charleston city police cruisers on the scene, officers standing around doing a lot of nothing.

Fender bender at the off ramp of I-64 westbound at Montrose Drive. Everybody off the road, traffic moving smoothly past the accident, cop already on the scene with lights flashing. A South Charleston cruiser with two officers stops at the intersection while heading up the hill (southbound, this is on the other side of the street from the accident, and with the light green) to “observe.” They block the lane through the rest of the green, a red, and another green, and finally turn on their lights as traffic decides to go around them. What they were going to do, I don’t know, because they just sat their unnecessarily blocking the left lane of Montrose.

OTOH, you can have a monster traffic tie up with a dozen cops on the scene and two lanes blocked, and nobody will take it upon themselves to direct traffic around the mess. Kudos to any cop willing to direct traffic, because here is a guy will to do something obvious to improve the situation.

Disrespected?

March 24, 2008

In depositions Friday, Randall Reid-Smith claimed he fired Fred Armstrong because “Armstrong was “not a team player,” and that he had ‘disrespected’ Reid-Smith.”

How do you disrespect a guy that breaks out into song in the middle of discussions and who calls all the men he talks to, whether from another state agency or even his own staffers, “Honey” in front of everyone?

Helping out Brickstreet

March 22, 2008

Joe Manchin is our privatizing governor, eager to cut state payrolls by passing those jobs off to private industry or by using contractors to replace state employees. Unfortunately, news today shows the state giving up a lot for that privilege.

So far, Brickstreet has saved $76M by not paying the state any taxes, plus the state loaned Brickstreet $200M in startup money. “Starting in July, BrickStreet will start competing for business from private insurers, though it will retain its monopoly for insuring state employees.” How nice for them.

The airplane expert

March 4, 2008

I’m sorry, but what the fuck does Hershel “Woody” Williams know about building aircraft? Probably about as much as he does about statues for women veterans.

And why does anyone really care about his opinion?