Apparently governments everywhere have some things in common:
SCOTLAND: THE Scotland Office spent nearly £8,000 on hiring plants for an office used by three employees. And the department, which has fewer than 60 staff in all, has clocked up running costs of more than £2.4 million since devolution.
The costs of running the Scotland Office - which do not include salaries - have been revealed in a series of written answers to MPs’ parliamentary questions over several months.
Since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999, the Scotland Office has had very few responsibilities in government, and its staff has dwindled to 58, some of whom work part-time.
In total, between April 2000 and March 2004, the Scotland Office spent £7,857 on plants - £7,529 of that figure on foliage hired from specialist firms who also maintain and water the greenery; and £328 was spent on bought plants. According to the Scotland Office, all of those costs related to an office at Meridian Court in Glasgow.
A spokesman yesterday confirmed that there were now only three staff working at Meridian Court where, until last spring, there were more than 20.
The department’s biggest cost was staff travel, on which almost £1,168,000 was spent between July 1999 and March 2004.
Heating and lighting the Office’s buildings, including the imposing Dover House on Whitehall, was the next biggest cost. From July 1999 until March last year, the ministry spent over £106,000 on electricity, £27,000 on water and nearly £134,000 on gas.
US-California’s embattled secretary of state is stepping down amid investigations into his handling of federal election funds and questionable campaign contributions, a source close to the official told The Associated Press on Friday.
Kevin Shelley, 49, was to testify later this month before the Legislature’s audit committee about his handling of millions of dollars in federal elections funds.
The source, who spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity, said Shelley would announce his resignation Friday at a news conference outside his San Francisco home.
His move paves the way for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, to name a replacement.
Shelley, the son of former congressman and San Francisco mayor, was once one of California’s rising political stars and had been considered a future candidate for governor.
But the Democrat recently found himself embroiled in controversy over the election money and charges by ex-employees of temper tantrums and a hostile work environment. He has not been charged with breaking any laws.
The state Board of Personnel criticized some of his office hiring practices as possibly illegal and a throwback to the ``spoils system.’’ Shelley likewise faced investigations for accepting $125,000 in campaign funds from recipients of state grant funds for a San Francisco neighborhood center that was never built.
The main source of Shelley’s problems was a December state audit that charged him with poor management of $46 million in federal election funds.
The money was set aside by Congress to modernize voting systems around the country and help prevent disenfranchisement of voters following the 2000 election debacle in Florida.
The audit painted a picture of an office in disarray that missed deadlines to send the funds to counties, avoided competitive bids for services and paid consultants for work that had little to do with the purpose of the funds.