Rhode Islanders who follow the news can’t help but begin wondering how many times the federal government will have to send letters of complaint against our corrupt and inept state government. The Unified Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP) is obviously the giant archetype of the problem, but even those blue RhodeWorks signs promoting Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo are an illustration. Here’s Patrick Anderson in the Providence Journal:
The Federal Highway Administration has found the hundreds of signs scattered over roads and bridges are “not in compliance” with federal traffic regulations, Carlos Machado, Federal Highway’s administrator for Rhode Island, said Wednesday. …
Nancy Singer, a Federal Highway spokeswoman, provided The Journal with the federal regulation at issue in Rhode Island, which does not allow “promotional or other informational signs regarding such matters as identification of public officials, contractors, organizational affiliations, and related logos and symbols.”
Also of interest is that the signs cost an extra $100 each to make and install, bringing the total to $52,000, because the original estimate didn’t include labor costs. Unionized state employees are both making and installing the signs.
Recall, in this context, that Raimondo’s Director of the Department of Transportation, Peter Alviti, was previously an employee of the Laborers’ International Union (LiUNA). Shortly after his hiring, Alviti scuttled a hiring plan that called for the state to bring in more design and development employees, as recommended by an expensive outside analysis, and instead hired more laborers. One effect of the change was that the new hires shifted from a different union to LiUNA.
Recall, also, that Alviti brought some tasks in-house, like road striping, claiming that having more union members on the payroll year round would be less expensive than hiring outside vendors for the part-year work.
Now we are reminded that the DOT has been finding work for its employees making overly political signs for the governor. At what point does the federal government stop the cease and desist letters and send in the investigators?