The Washington Examiner had a piece that hits close to home, as I have seen this waste firsthand. I’m sure many in D.C. area are familiar with the “Fill the Boot” collection that firefighters perform each year. Waiting for the stop light to turn green in your local town, you are solicited by a fireman. The firefighter is in the middle of the road requesting donations for charity to fight muscular dystrophy. Charitable and altruistic acts are of course needed and worthwhile. However, the duties of firefighters are not to raise money for charity.
Taxpayers who are being solicited to donate to charity are paying for the fireman’s salary to put out fires, not to support whatever charitable cause the fireman deems worthy. Taxpayers in the private sector commit their time to volunteer to raise awareness and raise money for charitable causes as well. They just aren’t paid for it. This example of government waste is less egregious than most concerning government employees performing non-government work while on government time. Nevertheless, if public sector employees believe strongly in the cause, they can ‘volunteer’ their time just like everyone else — and not expect a check from their employer to do it.
Government waste by public sector employees in this fashion has been exposed of late. A proposed bill in Congress, the Federal Employee Accountability Act, would eliminate government workers, specifically union officials, from bargaining, going to conferences, or doing any work on official government time that is not government work. This has set off a chain reaction that is driving state and local government to examine imposing the same restrictions.
Millions of hours each year at all levels of government are wasted paying public employees to do non-work. Eliminating this waste costs nothing to the taxpayer — they are not losing government service. Employee accountability is needed and elected officials are started to realize how little there is in the public sector.