Taxpayer Association of Oregon presents 15th annual Taxpayer Awards.
THOMAS JEFFERSON AWARD
State Representative Gene Whisnant. For creating the legislation behind the nationally recognized government transparency website where the public can see how much government brings in and where it spends their tax dollars. Whisnant is also recognized for his budget investigations into $300 million in potential vacant state employee positions and problems with the half-billion education ELL & poverty program funds.
WORST OREGON POLITICAL FIGURE
Gov. John Kitzhaber: For employing his girlfriend as a public official while she received money from lobby interest groups and then proceeded to try to destroy email evidence which contributed to his historic resignation. Runner-ups: Bruce Goldberg — Cover Oregon Director behind ¼ billion Cover Oregon flop. Resigned and re-hired as $14,000 a month consultant. Carole Smith — Portland School Board president: Received a 28% pay raise, yet Portland schools had 4th worst attendance and they fell to the nation’s worst graduation rate under her tenure.
GOLDEN SCHNOZ AWARD
(Where government sticks its nose where it doesn’t belong)
Ban on beer at self-checkout: Senator Floyd Prosanzki tried to ban beer and wine sales at self-check out stores.
GOVERNMENT WASTE AWARD
– Paying people not to leave. Cover Oregon offered as much as $650,000 to 160 employees not to leave the failed website project. Runner-ups include: $24,000 for a single sex-ed speech when University of Oregon paid controversial speaker Dan Savage to give a speech which included insightful topics (such as people who like to have sex in gorilla suits). $940,000 Water House as Portland water rate dollars were used to build an exorbitant “Water House” later sold for $395,000.
BUREAUCRATIC BUNGLER AWARD
$15 million software glitch. About $15 million was wasted by Employment Dept. on new failed software.
EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM AWARD:
Nigel Jacquiss of Willamette Week. For his historic role in investigating and reporting over the Kitzhaber scandal.
GOVERNMENT INNOVATION AWARD:
Baker City. The city raised $30,000 by selling surplus and outdated city property on eBay.