Sometimes a bit of business acumen isn’t a bad thing

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve established that, despite those regular political hopeful protests, you cannot run any level of government like a business. Businesses have bosses while congressional caucuses, county boards and city councils have compromise.

The leaders of those various government gaggles generally doesn’t even get to vote!

Jack Franks

Jack Franks

But the fact that you’ve been seated on one of those blessed bodies by no means means you automatically have to throw that Judson MBA right into the crapper. There are a plethora of opportunities to put those hard earned skills to work, not the least of which is when dealing with outside contractors.

And 63rd District State Rep Jack Franks just proved it with his good business sense which might just mean that not all Democrats are the heinous creatures some folks make them out to be.

Possessing a rare and almost always undervalued keen sense of the politically obvious, this story starts with Franks noticing the folks at Northstar Lottery Group had not nearly lived up to the lofty financial expectations they set for themselves.

It may be true they’ve to set some Illinois lottery sales records, but Northstar has also:

  • Fallen more than $440 million short of what they originally promised to raise for the State in 2011.
  • Fallen $700 million short of their 2013-14 fiscal year sales goal.
  • Fought having to pay the penalties for their poor performance.
  • Been unable to shift the lottery ticket sales burden away from the poorer neighborhoods where folks can least afford it.
  • Have not been forthcoming with data when Lottery officials ask for any kind of analysis.

Before we continue, please note that this case is a clear indication that privatization is not always the save government from itself panacea it’s purported to be.

Falling back on that KPO (keep perception of the obvious) Representative Franks said this; “The privatization of the Illinois Sate Lottery has been nothing less than a disaster for taxpayers. It is time for the Illinois State Lottery and Northstar to go their separate ways…” Then he politely asked Governor Quinn to make it so.

And that’s exactly what should happen.

C’mon! If you enjoyed the unique luxury of setting your own fiscal goals and, not only do you fall far short, but refuse to tell your sales manager boss where you went wrong and you still want all that commission, you’re toast!

The sad thing is, this story really ain’t makin’ the rounds. Despite the Democrat calling out another Democrat angle, It was buried in both the Trib and Sun-Times.

So here’s hoping that Mr. Franks’ eminently reasonable assertions will make some waves anyway because this is one of those semi-rare clear cases in which employing a bit of business acumen is exactly the prescription the doctor ordered.

You may not be able to run government like a business, but you can certainly insist that those firms with state contracts do just that.

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