Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Helpful Corruption . . .

Schumer pushing for Fort Drum veterans to be treated at Sitrin  
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called Tuesday for some military veterans from Fort Drum with post traumatic stress disorder to be treated locally at Sitrin Health Care.

Currently, all such veterans requiring treatment go to Texas, but allowing some of them to be treated at Sitrin would help Sitrin and allow the veterans to receive “world-class service” closer to Fort Drum, Schumer said.
. . .
Sitrin and Fort Drum officials have been meeting about the plan, and Sitrin also has been looking into the possibility of receiving veterans from other military bases, said Rosemary Bonacci, Sitrin’s vice president of development and communications.
It is nice to see Mr. Schumer (of all people) pushing to privatize the government's provision of treatment for these heros.

But while it may make sense for the soldiers to be treated closer to Ft. Drum, and it is helpful for the local economy (and for one of the biggest and most influential not-for-profit behemoths in the Mohawk Valley), look at the process being followed.  "Sitrin and Fort Drum officials have been meeting about the plan. . . "

What ever happened to competitive bidding?

This privately negotiated process creates a dependency between Sitrin (with perhaps hundreds of voting employees) and Mr. Schumer (and any other politician that helps broker this deal).  When people become beholden to certain individuals for their livelihoods, they will vote as though their lives depend on it . . . because they do.

Sitrin may be the best vendor because they do good work . . . but let that come through in a competitive process.  If Sitrin wins on its merits, votes would not have been bought.
But as it stands now, this looks like corruption . . . helpful . . . but corruption none-the-less.
“It makes sense for everybody,” Schumer said.
Corruption usually does.

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