Commentary: Abolish Puget Sound Partnership

Posted 2/6/2011

from Evergreen Freedom Foundation

The Puget Sound Partnership (PSP) is an agency that was created in 2007 to restore and protect the Puget Sound. Never mind that the People for Puget Sound, the Trust for Public Land, the Nature Conservancy, the Department of Ecology, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and several other groups were already dumping millions into this task, and had been for years. PSP was granted 34 full-time employees and a $16 million budget.

In its first financial audit released in May 2010, the State Auditor’s Office found the agency had “circumvented state contracting laws, exceeded its purchasing authority and made unallowable purchases with public funds.” PSP spent about double what it should have on expensive Apple computers that weren’t even compatible with statewide information systems. The agency also violated state law by spending more than $11,000 on monogrammed fleece vests and jackets—all in the name of the Puget Sound’s environmental wellbeing of course—which were given to staff and elected officials as “thank you gifts.” And did I mention lip balm? Yes, PSP actually went there, and got nailed for it in the audit.

Well, lip balm ain’t going to mend all the chapped taxpayer hides out there frustrated with such extravagant government waste and abuse. The Puget Sound Partnership is expensive, superfluous, wasteful and altogether arrogant. Yet somehow, the Gov. Christine Gregoire’s proposed agency consolidation plan that moves Washington from 11 natural resource agencies to five function-based organizations still delivers a prominent role to PSP. Go figure.

The cumulative case against PSP is strong. Adding insult to injury, PSP has hired an in-house lobbyist at the expense of taxpayers to lobby for more taxpayer dollars. . . .Oh, and they failed to report their lobbying expenditures to the Public Disclosure Commission. (See our report, Draining The Swamp, for more about taxpayer funded lobbying.)

The bottom line: Abolish PSP and save money.