One of the largest issues is the complexity in getting to purchase materials/office equipment etc. locally. We are essentially forced to order from the corporations such as Unicor and GSA that charge ridiculous prices for their items. While perusing the website in order to purchase a lamp, I came across a 1300.00 lamp! Now I ask, what lamp is worth 1300 when you could easily drive to a local store, purchase an effective, elegant appearing lamp for fewer than 100.00 that probably could be returned much simpler than if we used the mail service. Better said, what Government office would ever require a 1300.00 dollar lamp?!
Still, to this day, I have struggled with making sense out of the spending nature of our department. Understand please, that I am in no way an economist. In fact, I barely made it through Micro and Macro Economics as I loathed the subject. Given a budget of say 10,000; if I were to spend all of that, then suffice it to say that I will get that amount and perhaps even more the following fiscal year since I proved my budget was necessary simply by spending every last dime. However, if that money is not spent, then it could be that I did not justify that amount for the following year. So, in the end, I either spend it or it is gone. Why is that? Why is it that we could not put that money back into the pot and use it in the next fiscal year? I know…accountants and economists would blow a gasket, right?
The money that is spent during, “spend down” time is beyond the limits of good taste. I have seen more flat screen TV’s, office equipment and other items flow into various buildings during that time and in the end, how does that help the bottom line during a time when our country is in one of the worst economic moments of its history. Spend Down is a dangerous habit that has only helped to lead us down the path of dependency on other nations.