Justice Department Stimulus Grantees Lag in Reporting
By David Stout | December 14, 2012 1:33 pm

For those who resent authority and like to thumb their noses once in a while, the latest news from Government Executive is too good an opportunity to pass up.

The magazine for federal employees tells us that some recipients of grants under the Recovery Act are failing to file required reports with Uncle Sam on how they’re spending their money. “Grantee president responsible for approving report had deceased; no backup plan in place,” one recipient of a $3.2 million grant from the Labor Department explained.

But of those that failed to file a report for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, about 34 percent were the beneficiaries of Department of Justice programs.

“Delinquent grantees included police departments, sheriff’s offices, and city and county governments,” notes Michael Wood, executive director of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board. Police departments and sheriff’s offices? Yes!

For those who have forgotten, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was pushed through Congress by President Barack Obama. It has been called a “stimulus package,” or a prime example of Big Government throwing away the taxpayers’ hard-earned money, depending on one’s political compass. Originally, it was supposed to be $787 billion, but that was bumped up to $840 billion.

Everett Dirksen

(The late Sen. Everett Dirksen, a white-maned Illinois Republican with a syrupy voice, once joked, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”)

Anyone wishing to learn just which law enforcement outfits aren’t reporting as required can go over the recovery board’s list of non-compliers. Ah, what the heck! We’ll save you the trouble (and have some fun doing it) by picking out some offenders.

Two police departments in California, in Jackson and Dinuba, are on the “list of shame,” for not detailing how they spent $299,874 and $543,842, respectively. So is the police department in New Port Richey, Fla., which didn’t account properly for $394,958. And so are the police departments in Richton, Ill., and Henderson, Ky., for failing to detail what they did with $243,758 and $567,588, respectively.

On and on, the list of shame goes, one disillusionment after another, as police departments and sheriff’s offices are shown to be scofflaws. The sheriff’s office in Washington Parish adds to Louisiana’s roguish reputation by failing to detail how it spent $149,766. Even worse, the office is a recidivist, having failed to file for two reporting periods! And the Kinloch police in Missouri have likewise failed to file for two reporting periods on how they spent their $90,604.

(To the city officials of Rutland, Vt.: I have just received a second notice from you about a parking ticket I was issued while visiting your community. I have no intention of paying it at this time, and I must insist that you stop bothering me. I may considering paying it eventually, but not until the Rutland County Sheriff’s Office tells what it did with the $150,864 it got from the Department of Justice. Meanwhile, my patience is at an end.)

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One Comment

  1. smorrison@ci.jackson.ca.us says:

    Dear Mr. Stout, perhaps you should have called me before you listed my agency on your “List of Shame.” You would have found out that the funds I received for saving ONE officer from lay-off were spent soley on that officer’s position. I invite you to look at my expenditures/reports/ respective account bank records, which are kept here and the redundancies at my City Hall through our finace officer. You will see exactly where & how I used these funds. Next time, do a little follow-up before you slam your pen and ink.

    Scott Morrison