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GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 30, 2009

I was going to entitle this piece “Bureaucrats Gone Wild” as I wanted to draw attention to the government officials who go out of their way to make life a living Hell for us, but I already covered this in an earlier column (see “Bureaucrats”).

It’s not bad enough that government bureaucrats create their own little fiefdoms to express their self-importance, but it is how they try to play mind games with the taxpayer that disturbs me more, particularly young ones. Let me give you a couple of examples…

I’m involved with a nonprofit group who owns and maintains their own building. Not surprising, they are subject to the same rules and government codes as everyone else, such as health, fire, and building inspections. For years, the group diligently maintained their building and conformed to ever-changing codes. However, one year they were visited by a young fire inspector who wrote up an extensive list of code violations. This came as a complete surprise to the group. Although a few of the items on the list were legitimate, there were others that could best be described as superfluous. Nonetheless, the group complied with the requests, at considerable expense, but are now leery of any more inspections by the young power-hungry bureaucrat.

In another instance, I had a friend who did some minor work in South America. For some unknown reason, a young IRS agent targeted his company for an audit and, finding out about the South American connection, accused my friend’s business of making millions of dollars in South America of which they owed considerable back taxes. Understandably, this shocked the company’s management as they adamantly maintained their innocence. Nonetheless, the IRS agent asserted his contention thereby forcing the company to hire a team of accountants and lawyers to successfully refute the charges, also at considerable expense.

In both examples, the bureaucrats considered the defendants guilty until proven innocent, not the other way around as we would normally expect. Reasoning with the young bureaucrats was out of the question, as they saw this as an opportunity to make a name for themselves. Not only did their inexperience lead to bad relations with the people they were suppose to be serving, but cost people a lot of money to defend themselves over frivolous charges. I guess it’s no small wonder why people do not trust or respect their government officials, particularly “Bureaucrats Gone Wild.”

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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