Ripping the lid off an overtime scam, and Democrats take heat on redistricting

    It’s a shame that a good investigative story gets less traction over the holidays.

    Dana DiFilippo, a good friend and great reporter at the Philadelphia Daily News had a terrific story on Monday about Philly cops padding their pay with overtime they didn’t deserve, and precious little being done about it.

    The story is about waste and the lack of accountability in city government, and about how the buddy networks within the police department make it hard to clean things up. It seems the department was more enthusiastic about going after two cops who cooperated in exposing the overtime scam than it was in disciplining the cop who racked up nearly $250,000 in OT over six years. He was allowed to retire at full pension rather than face discipline or prosecution.

    If the two cops who were disciplined after cooperating with a probe of the overtime abuse hadn’t filed a whistleblower’s lawsuit, we might not ever have known about it.

    The story is a reminder of the value of local investigative reporting, and of the ongoing need for real management reform in city government. City Controller Alan Butkovitz has complained in past audits that officers were often allowed to approve their own overtime.

    Thanks, Dana.

    On the national scene, among the more interesting stories about redistricting controversies is this one from the investigative non-profit Pro Publica. It concerns how, as the story puts it, “Democrats Fooled California’s Redistricting Commission.”

    You can read about some of the backlash in this piece by Alex Isenstadt on Politico.com.

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