Sunday, October 12, 2008

The day I gave away taxpayer money

I, along with a bunch of other librarians from the county, (which shall be nameless) were summoned to an urgent meeting at the office of the community college library director. It turns out there was some state grant money to be spent on the arts, they had a hatful of applications, and someone had to decide who got the money. That would be us. They couldn't think of anyone better equipped, knowledgeable, blah blah blah. Or maybe they couldn't get anyone else on such short notice.

It turns out there were two kinds of organizations looking for grants. First, those which were doing okay without the money but could have used some, and those that were hopeless. Among the hopeless was an application to paint a mural on the side of a disused barn in the middle of nowhere.

We had to decide where to disburse the money that very day. The applications had apparently been found in somebody's inbox just a day or two before the deadline, so we had to make up our minds very fast.

I discovered then and there how good it felt to spread money around. It was a small amount, but we felt powerful and important. A thousand here, a thousand there--we felt the thrill which undoubtedly motivated the Rockefellers, with the pleasing difference that it wasn't coming out of our pockets.

So I learned how easy and rewarding it is to give away somebody else's money. Well, it felt like other people's money, even though it was tax money and we were the taxpayers.


Anonymous said...

You forgot to say that the bulk of the grant went to the place that wanted to paint a mural in nowhere. Oysgevarfene gelt, time and again.

A State Juvenile Center in one of New England States our Co (and me) worked on, just came ready for occupation. 1% of the project costs was allocated for public art. We were supposed to oversee the selection process and to give our recommendations to the State.
So what got selected?
All I can say is oy gevolt.

miriam said...

Actually, I voted against that one; I believe it fell by the wayside.

Anonymous said...

Than you were able to let in some sanity. However, exception only prove the rule!

dick stanley said...

The mural to nowhere. I bet Palin had a hand in it. Big Media will tell us soon enough. They have plenty of time, since they're not looking into Barry.

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