Monday, September 16, 2019
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, January 20, 2019
DOE’s Repair Backlog Is How Much Again?
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 1256 Views :: Education K-12, Ethics

DOE’s Repair Backlog Is How Much Again?

by Tom Yamachika, President, Tax Foundation Hawaii

In a budget briefing at the legislature at about this time last year, Department of Education officials reported that their backlog of repair and maintenance jobs was $293 million, and they were patting themselves on the back because it was a significant drop from the $392 million reported in 2010.

This year, the backlog is $868 million – nearly triple the amount reported last year. It turns out there were issues with the way the backlog projects were tracked. For example, when initial design money was spent on a project, the project dropped off the pending list even though no contractor to fix the issue had been hired or paid.

The words “gross incompetence” come to mind. In the private sector, this would normally be coupled with “heads will roll.”

In our state government, however, it is notoriously tough to get someone fired. The only event in recent memory to trigger a shake-up was the infamous ballistic missile false alarm, which resulted in the resignation of an administrator and a co-worker, the suspension of another, and the firing of the button-pusher.

What, then, is to become of those who designed and ran the systems that were supposed to be keeping track of the DOE’s maintenance backlog? The false missile alert happened in the blink of an eye and was over in 38 minutes. There was a lot more time put into compiling the DOE maintenance backlog data. There had to have been multiple levels of review when the DOE data was gathered, the numbers were crunched, and all the above was refined into a report or briefing materials presented to the legislature. And the result of all of this was a hideous lie told to our lawmakers.

On the flip side, lawmakers had to have known that something wasn’t right. The University of Hawaii was reporting a deferred maintenance backlog of $722 million – but it has 10 campuses and the DOE has 256. Was UH that much more inefficient than the DOE (and if so, why hadn’t there been heads rolling at the UH)?

Whatever the reasons, a maintenance backlog growing closer to the $1 billion mark at both the DOE and UH is cause for serious concern. Tough decisions about funding priorities need to be made, and by the people who need to have the state’s big picture in mind.

And when I speak of “big picture,” I am not at all talking about lawmakers who simply say, “Oh, we don’t have enough money to run government, so we need to ask the taxpayers to make up the difference.” The big picture leaders need to have an understanding about the revenues as well as the expenses, so they can manage the economic engines that produce the money that we all need to get on with our lives.

In the Star-Advertiser article that reported on this amazing revelation, it was mentioned that the DOE has built a new online database that will encompass all capital improvement and repair projects so errors like this won’t happen in the future and there will be more transparency. “People will have the ability to pull that information anytime,” an assistant superintendent is quoted as saying, but what he meant by “people” is legislators, Board of Education members, or school administrators. A “public version” of the database will be developed next year – probably with limited functionality. The folks who came up with that idea can’t even see that part of the big picture that says We the People are responsible for their paychecks and the funds necessary to get these projects addressed. Maybe they should be considered for head-rolling along with the geniuses responsible for underreporting the maintenance backlog in the first place.

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Conservative Alliance

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT