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Step Right Up And Win A Big Prize As A State Employee

How would you like to get a grant for 90% of the cost to build your house? Or, perhaps somewhat more likely, plant your garden? Well, don't get too excited. It's not really likely at all.

Unless, that is, you own land. Lots of land. With trees on it. That need management.


Let me first get my biases out of the way. I was born on the East coast, grew up and went to high school on the East Coast, college on the East coast, and worked on the East coast. There, trees just grow. They don't need "management." But, as a transplant to California, I've learned that things are a bit different out here.

Here, apparently, trees need to be managed. In fact, they need so much management that the State will pay up to 90% of the cost to manage trees on private land.

What a boondoggle! Let's rush out and buy land with trees on it so we can get paid, too.

Admittedly, not too many people know about this deal, and frankly I wouldn't have either, except that a state employee applied for the grant, and the Department of Forestry, bless their hearts, asked the Attorney General if they could give the money to a state employee (see Opinion 04-701, to be posted soon).

The AG ruled yes, the state could give money to a state employee to manage trees. The AG noted that the landowner / state employee has no official involvement in evaluating and awarding grant applications and is not employed by the department, and none of his work affects the Department of Forestry.

I thought the rule would be something like entering a sweepstakes - employees of the company aren't eligible.

What was I thinking? It's the State of California Sweepstakes!


Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, May 11, 2005

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