Mt. Vernon Register-News


April 12, 2013

Government needs to be held accountable


It would seem a reasonable concern. After all, airplanes have been hijacked by men with knives – but never by one wielding a tube of toothpaste.

Government agencies are replete with examples like these, and for decades, elected officials, political scientists, journalists and others have tried to devise ways to make the bureaucracy more navigable and accountable to those the taxpayers fund it - those the government is meant to serve.

On the accountability front, one widely heralded move was to have auditors routinely audit the bureaucracy and root out waste, fraud and abuse.

But the results have been mixed.

For example, Illinois Auditor General Bill Holland recently conducted an audit of the state’s public-funded universities.

About half of the findings were also cited in previous audits.

Often the findings aren’t exciting – but they are important.

For example the auditor general found that Chicago State University had $18.6 million sitting in a bank account – without enough insurance to cover the deposit. The auditor told school officials they needed to make sure the full deposit was fully insured.

Each audit finding is intended to make sure government is run well.

“In the real world, people would be losing their jobs if they ignored an auditor’s finding,” said state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo. “But once you enter that vortex called state government, it doesn’t work that way. There is absolutely no accountability or consequences for not correcting problems. Nothing aggravates me more. The reason there is no accountability is they know, no one will lose their job if they just it ignore it.”

University trustees, our governor and other leaders within government need to show those within their bureaucracies that accountability is essential.

Jobs should be on the line.

A bureaucracy is like a tube of toothpaste – it needs to be squeezed hard so nothing goes to waste.

Scott Reeder is a veteran statehouse reporter and the journalist in residence at the Illinois Policy Institute. He can be reached at Readers can subscribe to his free political newsletter by going to ILNEWS.ORG or follow his work on Twitter @scottreeder

Text Only
  • Take a lesson from Texas I like to eat at blue-collar diners and cafes, particularly when I’m on vacation.It’s a chance to step beyond the homogenized national chains and experience a bit of local flavor.And being a reporter, I like to chat up local folks to find out a bit a

    July 23, 2014

  • The future reality of terrorist drones A very small airplane rose over the Gaza Strip last week. It entered Israeli airspace and sped toward the coastal city of Ashdod. Then a Patriot missile blew it up.The plane, a rudimentary drone launched by the terrorist group Hamas, posed little thr

    July 23, 2014

  • We are headed to a jobless future In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers revived a debate I’d had with futurist Ray Kurzweil in 2012 about the jobless future.He echoed the words of Peter Diamandis, who says that we are moving from a history

    July 23, 2014

  • Pensions need to be addressed I will have to admit that I am slightly overwhelmed today with the receipt of articles and suggestions for a column. One of my Fitness Mafia colleagues constantly tells me the columns are too long and trying to address different subjects just dilutes

    July 22, 2014

  • VA still failing our vets Jymm’s preferred attire is a skin-tight Minnie Mouse T-shirt with bright pink windbreaker pants. Even when not sporting his choice outfit, he dons short shorts and shirts with holes in them, because that’s what he finds most comfortable. His Santa Mo

    July 22, 2014

  • Feed your home piggy bank with a 15-year mortgage This summer, we finally decided to take the plunge we’d been contemplating for a while: converting our 30-year mortgage to one with a 15-year payoff. It’s a big step. Our payments will go up somewhat (the PITI — principal, interest, tax, and insuranc

    July 19, 2014

  • Under the dumb There is a TV series about an entire town trapped under a giant, mysterious crystal-clear dome that appears out of the blue one day. The dome is impenetrable; no one can get in, no one can get out. Who made the dome? Aliens? God? A super-secret branc

    July 19, 2014

  • Widening the loopholes This week, two more U.S. companies moved to reestablish themselves overseas, allowing them to pursue lower corporate tax rates. They will join dozens of others who have chased lower tax bills abroad while maintaining operations in the United States,

    July 19, 2014

  • Patriotism not questioned Editor:I am responding to Mayor Mary Jane Chesley’s Reader’s View article in the Thursday, June 19, 2014, Register-News “Patriotism is strong.”The mayor has missed the point of my Reader’s View/opinion article in the local newspapers regarding Flag D

    July 19, 2014

  • Who's telling a story now? For this administration, failure is always the result of a “communications” problem. Otherwise, failure might be taken as evidence of misguided ideology and incompetent execution, right? It’s a weird excuse for the president who fancies himself to be

    July 18, 2014

Twitter Updates