Geoff Pender: Taxpayer-paid travel ingrained as perk

If you work in the private sector, try this: Go into your boss’ office and ask if you can go to a conference in Maui, Hawaii, and spend a week on the company dime.

I’ll wait ….

Let me guess — he or she said no, right?

You need a state government job, bless your heart.

Since we first reported on Mississippi government travel — about $40 million of it for fiscal 2013 — hardly a week goes by I don’t get a tip about some junket or other by government officials.

Take the recent $30,000-plus trip to New York by the director and a slew of employees of the Department of Rehabilitation Services. Of course, there have also been the government trips to Cologne, Puerto Rico, Nova Scotia, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands and hundreds going to Destin, Fla. Over the last few years, there are few corners of the globe left untraveled by Mississippi government employees; especially the corners with nice beaches or golf courses.

The latest was a tip that members of the state Board of Public Accountancy — the agency that polices CPAs — went to Hawaii.

Clarion Ledger
12/14