NB: By "help themselves," I mean taking more than their wages might indicate.
How do they help themselves? There are the obvious ways:
- Getting reimbursed on a per diem- instead of cost basis for travel;
- Hiring extra workers to reduce their own workload;
- Getting paid more than market wage, with the approval of a friendly board of directors;
- Consuming more perks (nice office, car, extra vacation, etc.);
- and so on...
(I first started thinking about these issues after reading a history of the National Geographic Society, one of the wealthiest non-profits in the world. My recent visit to the "non-profit" World Bank did nothing to dispel my thought that these social servants can have a pretty good life. Churches? Let's not go there.)
Right, so that's just a starting point to set up this more interesting angle:
I can't remember who gave me this idea, and I may have it wrong, but here's how it works:
- A utility (private or public) claims it needs $200 million to improve infrastructure.
- A bond issue is approved, backed by future revenue (rate increases) or property taxes.
- The bond brings $200 million to the utility, which then raises rates to cover repayment.
- The work is done for $150 million.
- The extra $50 million goes to perks, bonuses (under budget!), etc.
You're comments (and examples!) welcome!