What happens when you use other people's money to buy things and services? This.
Nobody told Hurricane librarian Rebecca Elliot that the $22,600 Internet router in the branch library's storage closet was powerful enough to serve an entire college campus.
Nobody told Elliot how much the router cost or who paid for it. Workers just showed up and installed the device. They left behind no instructions, no user manual.
The high-end router serves four public computer terminals at the small library in Putnam County.
The state of West Virginia is using $24 million in federal economic stimulus money to put high-powered Internet computer routers in small libraries, elementary schools and health clinics, even though the pricey equipment is designed to serve major research universities, medical centers and large corporations, a Gazette-Mail investigation has found.
The state purchased 1,064 routers two years ago, after receiving a $126 million federal stimulus grant to expand high-speed Internet across West Virginia.
The Cisco 3945 series routers, which cost $22,600 each, are built to serve "tens of thousands" of users or device connections, according to a Cisco sales agent. The routers are designed to serve a minimum of 500 users.
Yet state broadband project officials directed the installation of the stimulus-funded Cisco routers in West Virginia schools with fewer than a dozen computers and libraries that have only a single terminal for patrons.
Do you think this is a good use of public resources? If these were your own funds, do you think you might do a better job of managing them?
If your answers are "no" and "yes" respectively - then perhaps we need different politicians in office, judging how to spend the public's money. Just a thought.