To the editor:
As I read Henry Brean’s Thursday article regarding the record-breaking change order at the Southern Nevada Water Authority (“Adding $39.5 million to Lake Mead project worries water authority board member”), it occurred to me that he had missed one very germane and important point: The project in question was done under the terms of a union-only Project Labor Agreement.
The adoption of any PLA is always preceded by grandiose promises from their big-labor proponents that they will guarantee, among other things, on-time and under-budget delivery.
Obviously in this case, as in most, they delivered neither. I am not suggesting that the PLA caused these problems, but I am certainly pointing out that they did not prevent them, as promised.
Commissioner Steve Sisolak was exactly right to compare this to the Boston “Big Dig” project, which was another example of a spectacular PLA failure.
The timing of Mr. Brean’s article is interesting in light of the fact that the Clark County Commission just adopted a new PLA on several projects at McCarran International Airport. At the same time we are holding our elected officials responsible for these types of public construction debacles, perhaps we should demand a little more accountability from the unions who are working so hard to exclude open shop contractors from doing this work, and then failing to deliver.
I think the taxpayers deserve it.
The writer is executive director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, a California-based group dedicated to guaranteeing accountability and results for taxpayers by ensuring a fair and competitive construction industry.
To the editor:
In response to Dana Milbank’s Sunday commentary, “Bungling bankers”:
Mr. Milbank makes sure everyone knows how smart he and his wife are by conveniently providing the recap of their respective resumes. But all that powerful learning appears to have failed to provide them with enough street smarts to understand that mistakes, and sometimes even blatant incompetence, will occur in all segments of the free marketplace. One of our primary tasks as consumers is to try to avoid these situations the best we can.
It’s probably not too much of a stretch to say that somewhere along the line, the Milbanks have purchased a vehicle that didn’t perform anywhere near as well as advertised, or bought a toaster that didn’t work the first time they plugged it in.
In the same vein, there are thousands of competent banks and other mortgage lenders and mortgage servicers in this market that the Milbanks could have chosen where they wouldn’t have run into any of the problems they’re currently dealing with.
But now, because Citibank dropped their ball, we all need to run screaming to the government to make sure some incompetent banks will never mess up a transaction? Good luck with that.
Mr. Milbank contends that by throwing more taxpayer money at yet another “let government fix it” boondoggle such as the Making Home Affordable modification program is a viable means to soften the effects of incompetence. Even more, he suggests that the formation of another massive and unaffordable bureaucracy, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will eliminate the possibility of incompetence. The Dodd-Frank legislation Mr. Milbank hails offers additional mountains of punishing regulations that provide only minuscule, if any, benefit to consumers when compared to the implementation costs of those regulations. And those costs will ultimately be borne by those consumers who the regulations are intended to “protect.”
Suck it up, Mr. Milbank. Realize your mistakes, deal with your problems, do a little more research before choosing your next bank, and stop expecting another cost-prohibitive, bungling government bureaucracy to fix everything.
To the editor:
As a 30-year government employee, I wish to express my opinion in an angry way. At age 53, I just retired from Clark County government. Yes, no more 9-to-5 drag, Monday through Friday with no special perk days off, no super bonuses at year end and no gigantic overtime checks or buyouts from the taxpayer.
History shows that in the past 30 years, when the United States economy is red hot, nobody concerns themselves with public employees. Salespersons make six figures, stockbrokers live high on the hog, highly overpaid executives laugh all the way to the bank, etc. But guess what? We public servants make the same salary continuously and live on a budget. Public servants don’t receive fat commissions, etc. The paycheck stays the same once one reaches his top pay rate.
When the economy tanks, though, everyone points to the public servant in ridicule. Those high-flying fat cats barely get by and wish to take their frustrations out on the steady-earning public servant. May I remind those people of the story of the tortoise and the hare? As a public servant, I realize that, obviously, we do make it to the finish line first.
For the time being, I am going to enjoy my retirement in a foreign country, because my pension really doesn’t go that far in the good old United States.
North Las Vegas