Tanner Andrews,
P.O. Box 1208,
DeLand, FLA 32721.

Volusia County Council,
123 W. Indiana Ave.,
DeLand, FLA 32720.

Chairman and Members:

Quite a few years ago, and some hundreds of miles north of Volusia County, a Boss went back to what was then called the Computer Department, though today we might call it the I.T. Dep’t. He spake unto the Lead Programmer, a worthy and esteemed individual, saying ‘‘The sales effectiveness retreat is in two weeks. I need a report of all the orders we didn’t get last quarter, and their average commissionable value.’’ The record does not show the Lead Programmer’s response.

The 28-May-2002 edition of the Beacon reports that the County Council has agreed to provide some tens of thousands of dollars to the Rape Crisis Center (hence, ‘‘RCC’’), in spite of what might politely be termed irregularities. This was done on the strength of several representations: that Reggie Williams’ group regularly checked the RCC records, noticing nothing; that the RCC had no idea how much money was missing; that the RCC could not distinguish between the money which was wasted and that which had been embezzled.

The County Council was also supplied with some mis-information, which may have affected its decision. Assistant State Attorney Wheeler said on behalf of the State Attorney that ‘‘[a]After we get a conviction, [b]we’re going to order restitution, [c]and the county is a victim.’’ I have marked the three portions of that statement [a], [b], and [c]. Part [a] is an optimistic prediction of the future: the odds of a conviction, in the absence of a plea, with this State Attorney are a little better than even. Part [b] is clearly impossible: he lied to you; the State Attorney can not order restitution. Part [c] is unsound, in that the County is not a victim of the crime and will not be made whole by restitution should any be made to RCC.

I would urge you to remember that Assistant State Attorneys are, at heart, attorneys: if you watch, you can tell when they lie. Their lips move. You will never see the return of the taxpayer money which was given to and ‘‘mismanaged’’ by or stolen from the RCC.

The RCC director reports that, during their busy month, they saw 23 clients. She also said that she thought there may be as many as ten times that number whom they did not see. The Lead Programmer in our story could have used her ability to confabulate data: he might have been able to produce the required report.

If we confine ourselves to actual data, and assume that demand year round matches the busiest month with 23 customers, and use a 12-month year, then we can figure the cost per customer:
$293000 ÷ ( 23 × 12 ) = $1061.59
Is this a good deal? Well, the obvious liberal answer is that the victim is entitled to compassion, &c., and that we should be hard hearted if we look at what we actually receive for our $1061.59.

The money for this year is lost, frittered away, ‘‘mismanaged’’, embezzled, gone. Let it serve as a lesson: we should elect Council members who are more careful stewards of our money in the future.

Next year’s budget is not yet adopted. Any group that got a suck at the public teat this year will be back, asking for more, this September. Why not do the math approving the budget requests: figure out how much service you get, and how much it costs, and whether it is a good deal. Use the real clients, not the ‘‘orders we didn’t get’’.


Tanner Andrews

CC: Al Everson / DeLand Beacon

PS: This letter is also available on the web: http://www.payer.org/county/vc0203.html

Legal Mumbo-Jumbo: This material is a paid political advertisement provided by

Tanner Andrews,
P.O. Box 1208,
DeLand 32721.
independent of any candidate or committee. No candidate has approved this material. Disclosures are filed timely with the Supervisor's office.

from @(#)vc0203.txt 1.0 30-May-2002

proc with @(#)hmac.ta2 1.1a 01-Jun-2000