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April 14th, 2004 The Nose | The Nose
 

The $2 Million Post-it Note

     
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The Nose has made a few errors in his life. He's even willing to share a couple of examples.

When he was 13 years old, he experimented with wildlife adoption by trapping a squirrel and attempting to keep him as a pet. Sadly, Sparky the squirrel didn't take to his new home once the acorns ran out. That little blunder explains the scar on the Nose's left thumb.

Just last weekend, the Nose decided to see what would happen if he placed one full, unopened can of Miller High Life in the microwave and turned it on. The green fire it created was pretty cool, but the Nose spent much of Saturday in a hazmat suit cleaning the kitchen.

So the Nose has bumbled, erred, misjudged, and committed many a boo-boo. But he's got nothing on Nathan Allen.

Allen, 54, has been budget manager of the Oregon Department of Corrections for seven years. As such, he is charged every year with applying for federal funds to support Oregon's burgeoning prison system. One program, called the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, has for the past nine years provided between $1 million and $5.5 million to the Department of Corrections for housing undocumented workers in Oregon prisons.

This fiscal year, Oregon was due to receive about $2 million in SCAAP funding to supplement its $482 million annual prisons budget. But that money won't be coming. Why? Because Allen forgot to file the request for funding by the March 8 deadline.

Oops.

When reporters at the Albany Democrat-Herald--the paper that unearthed the $2 million blooper--asked Allen to explain, he replied that he had been busy with new staff and a heavy workload, and despite the "stickies" he'd left on his computer to remind him, it just slipped his mind. He called to try to get an extension, but was denied.

Now, the Nose doesn't want to pick on Allen; the guy's face must be redder than a cherry tomato right now. The real problem here is that when the Nose heard about Allen's flub, his first reaction wasn't one of shock or surprise. It was this: Where is the consequence? The Nose has always paid for his mistakes--that's why he learns from them. But Allen still shows up for work, with no apparent wrist-slap.

Everyone will screw up now and then. That's human nature. And, sadly, we've come to expect such goofs from our government. But when bureaucrats miss deadlines--let alone when cops shoot unarmed citizens, or when presidents ignore memos warning them of terrorism on our shores--shouldn't something happen?

Why the hell else do you think Donald Trump's show is so popular?

 
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