The NC Division of Forestry Resources (DFR) lashed out Monday against a follow-up report issued by the Program Evaluation Division (PED) claiming that the states’ aircraft fleet should be trimmed down considerably. According to the report, 25 of the state’s 72 aircraft should be sold for a potential yield of $8.1 million and an annual savings of $1.5 million. Per the report, the 20 of the 25 underutilized planes suggested for elimination reside in the DFR.
The DFR admitted during Monday’s oversight committee hearing that its aircraft fleet is the largest in the Southeastern United States but went on to say that the Division’s fleet required further study before any elimination could occur. Further study is necessary, the DFR spokesman said, because the PED report was invalid and illegitimate.
Attention to detail suggests that the DFR is simply engaging in the bureaucratic practice of ensuring that resources are never cut close to home. The PED follow-up report notes that one of the DFR’s planes has not been used at all since 2008. Additionally, that plane requires a $1 million mandatory inspection, potentially $1 million in repairs and, currently, the DFR does not have a pilot qualified to fly the aircraft.
When the time comes for the government to downsize there will always be someone standing in the way. Legislators must have the political will to cut back in spite of shouts to the contrary. Will they?