Do you pay rent, or a mortgage? Perhaps a better question would be, have you ever payed rent, or a mortgage? You probably got in the habit of sending that check for whatever the usual amount was on the first of the month. It became part of your monthly routine.
What about when your lease came to an end? Either you renewed the lease, or you moved. If you moved, you sent a letter cancelling your lease to your landlord. They stopped sending you bills, and you stopped sending them checks. It's a pretty simple concept. As much as you were used to sending that landlord a check every month, it was probably a pretty easy habit to break.
You work hard for your money. You probably know where every dollar goes, and what you get for that dollar. The state government on the other hand? They've been paying rent for almost 3 years on a space they've moved out of, over $30,000, every month. Almost $1,000,000 in total. Even if you had an amazing landlord, most people never feel the need to send their landlord a million dollar tip spread out across three years after moving out.
While this is an error that started under the previous administration, Governor Justice campaigned on the idea that he had the business experience to right the ship of state government. This is the kind of error that wouldn't fly in the private sector. This is the kind of error that Governor Justice's business experience should have helped him catch. Then again...if he'd been at the capitol maybe he would have caught it.
WV Metro News's Hoppy Kercheval recently wrote a commentary breaking down all the various ways this million dollar oversight occurred.
We can mount a modest defense of DHHR and the state Real Estate Division (WVRED) since the Middletown Mall was going through complicated bankruptcy proceedings and ownership changes. The report shows that the individuals and/or corporations that received the lease checks changed multiple times over the period, so there was a lot of confusion.
However, that hardly mitigates the complete breakdown within DHHR and the Real Estate Division that led to the expensive mistake. The Auditor’s investigation found “multiple failures, both at an individual employee level and at a larger Department oversight level.”
There were too many breakdowns to list, but here are a couple of examples:
As Kercheval's headline states, it's not just the state's money. It's your money. Don't you wish the Governor's administration was a little more careful with it?