Senate Republican leader says $600,000 splurge on DSHS staff workshops shows contempt for taxpayers

Sen. Mark SchoeslerSenate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler today offered the following response to a Seattle radio report that a division of the state Department of Social and Health Services is spending an estimated $600,000 to put on staff workshops in Tacoma.

“The Community Services Division can’t get a handle on the fraud and abuse involving the EBT cards it issues, yet it has no problem bringing thousands of its employees from around the state to a convention center – just so they can spend two days getting ‘engaged’ with their work, at taxpayer expense.

“If DSHS has 600 thousand dollars to splurge on staff workshops, its managers might want to think twice about the requests they bring before our legislative budget committees this next year. And how exactly does this help preserve the state’s ‘safety net,’ which is what people are always asking the Legislature to do?

“The division director indicated these workshops are focused on helping managers communicate the agency mission and vision and goals to their employees. In this day and age, with all the technology that is available to save time and money, it’s hard to understand why DSHS can’t use basic tools like e-mail and webcasting – or even traditional staff meetings – to accomplish that. If this is what the governor meant when he talked about bringing ‘lean management’ to Olympia, it doesn’t seem to be working.”

Schoesler, R-Ritzville, also is a member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.