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  • Tuesday, September 11, 2007


    Outlaw Political Vanity Spending

    South Florida Sun-Sentinel columnist Michael Mayo wrote recently:

    Ken Jenne is gone as Broward Sheriff, but his felony-tainted name is still everywhere at the Sheriff’s Office – enmeshed in the agency’s logo on shirts, pins, doors, buildings, flags, business cards and stationery.

    It will probably cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace all the Jenne-branded equipment and supplies.

    Jenne’s not the only one who did this. Just about every elected constitutional officer --from Broward Property Appraiser Lori Parrish to Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes -- plasters their names in as many places as they can.

    Why? Because they want to keep their names familiar to voters. It’s one of the powerful advantages of incumbency.

    Plastering, weaving, printing, embossing, or emblazoning the names of public officeholders into or on every item of personal property belonging to an agency must be at least as expensive as removing the names or replacing the items when a new office holder is elected or appointed. What is the public purpose or justification for spending taxpayers' money on this kind of self-aggrandizement of the office holder? Officials are elected to serve the people, not to gratify their narcissism and massive egos.

    Perhaps the total amount of taxpayer money spent in placing or removing office holder names is not a large percentage of of an agency's annual budget, but why should taxpayers be forced to tolerate such wasteful expenditures of money? The Florida legislature should seriously investigate outlawing or limiting this practice for all Florida public agencies and office holders.

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