A new report in the Los Angeles Times is likely to make you even more infuriated while you sit in the Southland's notoriously bad traffic. Turns out, while the Toll Road Agency was using a number of consulting firms to help wage a multi-million dollar public outreach campaign about extending Highway 241 to help ease traffic, the actual consultants weren't really doing all that much outreach.
San Clemente officials have obtained the billing records the consultants are charging the public and the numbers and corruption being revealed is staggering. One consultant, who turned out to the daughter of one of the consultants, even managed to get paid for 28 hours of work in a single day. The tollway's chief financial officer, Amy Potter, said an audit found the firm had double-billed for 14 hours of work, which resulted in the 28 hour workday.
Time travel aside, another consulting firm somehow managed to bill an incredible $230,000 for more than 1,300 hours spent reading emails about "news from transportation stories" and evaluate the reporter's perspective on the issue.
That is, consultants were being paid up to $185 an hour to read opinion columns from local journalists (Nice gig if you can get it). Another consultant was paid more than $3,000 a month to compile news stories for the agency at a mere $90 per hour according to the article. Consultants were paid $380,000 in one year to produce content for two small websites and social media accounts belonging to the tollway authority.
The tollway authority authorized a nearly $500,000 contract in 2015 with a public relations firm who would help them enhance support for extending the 241.
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