$648,000 of '"Stimulus money" spent on DTV installations

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#1
Award Description: Southwest Expert DTV Installs

Project Description: Period of performance: 6 MAY 09 to 30 SEP 09. Provided 2074 expert DTV installations to target consumer. Referred 415 people to the DTV help line.

Jobs Summary: Period of performance: 6 MAY 09 to 30 SEP 09. 13 jobs were electronic equipment technician (expert installs). 2 jobs were management. 1 job was financial. Total jobs reported: 16

Project Status: Completed



Southwest Expert DTV Installs | Contract | StimulusWatch.org
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#3
Since there are no details, the $300+ per home may or may not include Government Coupon discounted foreign made converter boxes, nor is there mention of antennas. So ... what did they get for free that the rest of us paid for?

Why, is another question/issue. :yell:
Jim

PS These count as jobs created? Really? Gimme a break! The project (jobs) lasted only four and a half months. Ronald Reagan said the most freightening words in the English language are:
"We're from the Government and we're here to help you."
 
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Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#4
"Expert Installation". I'd like to see the qualifications of both the companies and workers that were paid to do this job. I have a feeling most of the companies were created overnight. That reminds me, didn't Best Buy get some stimulus money too for installing converter boxes?
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#5
Since there are no details, the $300+ per home may or may not include Government Coupon discounted foreign made converter boxes, nor is there mention of antennas. So ... what did they get for free that the rest of us paid for?
The FCC sent out a Request for Proposals in early spring 2009 seeking contractors to troubleshoot converter-box installations. The proposal didn't provide for anything more than help setting the things up; recipients were to have converter boxes, antennas, cables, splitters, etc. on hand and ready to go when the technician showed up. (As if that would happen 100 percent of the time! Who comes up with these ideas, anyway? The scholars' group at the local day-care center? :mad:)

So, $300 represents only the cost per house call or household served. It sounds like it's right in the ballpark of what the RFP intended for the program.

Contrary to what StimulusWatch.com seems to insinuate by posting this data, the "stimulus" bill had nothing to do with this program. It was funded through the numerous laws pertaining to the DTV transition and its four-month extension last year.

I know all this because I downloaded the RFP and application requirements. I'm self-employed, and so I thought to myself, "I've done this successfully for several of my neighbors already -- why not try to get paid for doing it for a few weeks?" Silly me: The labyrinthine RFP required applicants to guarantee that they could perform a minimum of 200 house calls a week for eight weeks during June and July 2009. The document listing the application requirements was dozens of pages long, and so fiendishly complex that I wouldn't have felt at all comfortable submitting an application without paying an attorney to review it beforehand.

In other words, the whole thing screamed, "Independent contractors need not apply." It was set up expressly so that previously established organizations (which would certainly include Worst Buy, Aaron :becky:), plus the type of groups with which so-called "community organizers" would be intimately familiar, could take immediate advantage of the program and rake in quick cash -- provided they already had an attorney on retainer, of course.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#6
Don,
Thank you for the inside view. I too have helped neighbors and friends with their OTA setups and now we all know how much we should have charged them! In my area several of the stations offered free help over the telephone and one station (I think FOX) offered to have volunteers come by to help. :cool:
Jim
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#7
Well... not exactly...

Jim, remember that this link spotlights one contractor out of probably thousands who took part in the assistance program. My gut tells me that $312.44 is within the ballpark of a fair cost per household served. When you take into account office overhead, additional payroll accounting and hidden costs such as employer Social Security/Medicare contributions, local head taxes or income taxes and additional Worker's Compensation insurance premiums required by many states -- which can be substantial, even for temporary workers -- the figure really isn't all that high, at least not for government work. At any rate, it's nowhere near as brazen as the proverbial $600 Crescent wrench or $10,000 toilet seat!
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#8
Jim, remember that this link spotlights one contractor out of probably thousands who took part in the assistance program. My gut tells me that $312.44 is within the ballpark of a fair cost per household served. When you take into account office overhead, additional payroll accounting and hidden costs such as employer Social Security/Medicare contributions, local head taxes or income taxes and additional Worker's Compensation insurance premiums required by many states -- which can be substantial, even for temporary workers -- the figure really isn't all that high, at least not for government work. At any rate, it's nowhere near as brazen as the proverbial $600 Crescent wrench or $10,000 toilet seat!
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Don_M,
In my State, the Business and Occupation tax is murderous as is the Unemployment tax and Labor and Industries 'injury' tax, and people wonder why Boeing is now based in Chicago and is going to build airplanes in South Carolina. Ah yes, regarding gold-plated toilet seats, where is Senator Proxmire when we need him? Deceased, unfortunately.

Jim :thumb:
 
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