A Healthy Government is a Well-Fed Government

By Penny Beancounter | February 24, 2014 | Anyone who thinks that the primary function of government is to tax and provide services...


By Penny Beancounter | February 24, 2014 |

Anyone who thinks that the primary function of government is to tax and provide services is reminded that those cogs in the machine need to be fed too. The theme of this month's article is Food!

After perusing the latest monthly City check payments for the February 26 Elk Grove City Council meeting, I have focused on some of the more tasty delectables being consumed locally in mass quantities. I have skipped over the obvious out of town food places, because eating on the road is necessary while attending conferences and training. But the local food outlets do seem to be satisfying our government's insatiable hunger while home on the Elk range. 

In no particular order, "feast" your eyes on some of these payments:

$322.38  Dickey's BBQ
$105.00  The Cookie Jar
$142.58   Pizza Bell
$  90.61   Sinful Treats
$270.56   Romanos
$  90.61   Chick-Fil-A
$  36.11   Panera Bread
$  26.94   Java Time Donuts
$  55.53   Papa Johns
$  83.16   Old Town Pizzeria
$166.32   Old Town Pizzeria
$127.49   Peony Palace
$  48.82   Round Table

Not a bad month I'd say. Here's to the Basic Food Groups! See ya next month.

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15 comments

Anonymous said...

Seriously? You combed thru pages and pages of expenditures and found a $26.94 donut purchase? You must be SO proud. Might I suggest a better use of your time? The City of Elk Grove has a volunteer program that consists of people working hard FOR FREE/NO PAY/ZERO COMPENSATION because they have a sincere desire to contribute to the community. Why don't you look into that and see if they can use your skills? Maybe they will buy you a donut or a slice of pizza occasionally to say thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I get Beancounters point. Where I work, there is a Goody Duty list in which everyone brings in an item to share on a given day. Now, I don't expect MY employer to provide food/treats to the employees. We have over 70 employees and there is NO WAY IN HELL my boss would provide treats for each person. Now, once a year at Christmas there is always a nice luncheon that he sponsors, but monthly food stipends like these are over the top. Why should the city provide treats. If the employees want to start a goody calendar, by all means. I suspect some of this food is the council dinners on the two nights a month they hold meetings. I can see having a light meal brought in on those evenings since the council probably comes straight from their regular work jobs (if they have one) and must be at city hall by 5:30ish or so. I have no problem with a two-a-month light dinner...but all this other food seems excessive and just another way the citizens/tax payers keep paying through the nose for non essential items.

Big Brother and Sister said...

Good for Beancounter! As we have seen with this government of ours and former Council member Sophia Scherman billing $1.00 for mileage, if they can get away with the little things, it won't be long before they try and get away with the big ticket items again, such as $1,000 a month for floral arrangements in the city manager's office!

Anonymous said...

What do all these volunteers you speak of do at lunch time....zip back to the lunch room at city hall for some free vittels. Good that someone spends their time scrutinizing our cities spending habits...keeps them clean!

Anonymous said...

Why does the council get a free meal? What about the city staff that also attends the same council meeting "straight from their regular job"? I guess their choice is to skip dinner or buy their own, while you have no problem bringing in dinner for the council members. You apparently want it both ways. The council gets a salary. They should buy their own dinner.

Connie said...

When there is a closed session meeting, the council and staff get dinner. But the meal costs have reduced significantly from the past when the bill was over $1,000; sometimes upwards to $2K for each council meeting when the council was eating high on the hog at the taxpayer's expense.

We pesky citizens felt it it was too much money for meals. Pat Hume and Gary Davis agreed and put a stop to that when they were elected back in 2006.

Anonymous said...

Well thank you, pesky citizens, for putting a stop to that. But the poster at 11:24 asks a valid question. Why does the council get a free dinner at all? The gist of this thread implies that it is never, ever OK to buy a donut or a cookie with taxpayer money. So why do we buy dinner for the council? Why are they the exception?

Connie said...

The answer we were given is that the closed session starts usually at 5:00 p.m. and then the council goes straight into the council meeting; so they are missing the dinner hour. Therefore, it is felt that the council should be given dinner.

Dinner is not served when there is no closed session meeting.

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...

Thank you for the clarification Ms. Conley.

Exclusive of the city council meetings, are all these other meal expenditures necessary? Granted they are a miniscule part of the city's budget, but they are nonetheless taxpayers dollars.

If they are willing to be so liberal with their spending on in-town employee meals, are they playing fast and loose with other expenditures?

Anonymous said...

That must be interesting, discussing business while you're eating and drinking. I didn't see any Big Mac's they love so much on that list. What's with that?

Anonymous said...

I don't always agree with what happens at city hall but I do not think this outrageous. You need to treat quality employees well to attract and retain the best and brightest. Sometimes that means feeding them.

Marvin Zindler said...

They are the best and brightest, really? If they are so bright, why not get a better job say on Wall Street!

If this is all it takes to retain these employes, cut their salaries across the board by say 15% and feed them donuts everyday!

Since when are taxpayers responsible to feed overindulged overpaid public employees. Give me a break!

Anonymous said...

Wow people, can we get some perspective here? Look at the charges. I don't think there is any indication that we are providing buffet lunches and dessert carts in the afternoons. It looks more like a working lunch, which means that people worked thru their lunch hour to get something done, or coffee refreshments for an outreach meeting. If you can concede that it's appropriate to treat the council to dinner twice a month, why can't you concede that it might occasionally be appropriate to treat some employees or volunteers for their extra efforts?

Connie said...

I think some might disagree here, but the meal costs have gone down considerably and I don't think a little perk now and again is wrong. From what was spent by the council and staff in the past, including pay for council member to attend their weekly Rotary luncheons, I think these amounts are not out of line.

I have never been a public service employee, and it may be that government employees don't often receive free meals; but when we have staff meetings during the lunch hour, my association always picks up the tab. The same might be true here.

Michael said...

If it's not polite to talk with food in your mouth, then how does the council do its business while chowing down?
Perhaps this conundrum explains the council's incivility towards resident speakers?

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