Christine Harbin

Trend of Spending on Recognition Awards by Government Agency (in 1,000s)


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The yellow line represents the Department of Transportation, which has historically spent far more on recognition awards than the other government agencies. The orange line represents the Department of Conservation, which replaced MoDOT for the top spot in 2009. Between 2000 and 2009, Missouri's government agencies spent a combined total of $3,866,129.40 on recognition rewards.

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The largest expenditure to a single vendor for recognition awards occurred in the Department of Public Safety in 2008, which explains the big spike in the dark blue line during that year. Adjusted for inflation, this department spent $110,270 with On Time Marketing Corp. The second largest expenditure occurred in the Department of Transportation in 2001 — it spent $107,627 with Kay-Cee Enterprises, Inc.

According to the Department of Transportation's "Personnel Policy Manual," each employee is eligible to receive as much as $2,000 in recognition awards per calendar year. The policy document also states that employees may receive additional recognition awards from non-MoDOT sources, so it is possible for a person to be awarded even more than this.

  • Aren't there better uses for taxpayer money than roll-up blankets, windshield screens, and shirt/cap combos for bureaucrats?

  • If the highest-performing MoDOT employees receive paid time off as a recognition award, doesn't it follow that the lowest-performing employees remain at work?

  • Isn't Missouri looking for items to cut out of its budget? Wouldn't it be more responsible to cut recognition awards before it cuts funding for education or for emergency communication?


I discovered this information via the Show-Me Institute’s new web tool, "Show-Me: The Spending." Yesterday, Charis Fischer used this web tool to discover that travel expenditures for the governor's office skyrocketed between 2008 and 2009, and I discovered that government agencies in Missouri spent more than $2 million on credit card fees in 2009 alone. I invite our blog readers to play with the tool and see whether they can uncover additional examples of wasteful spending by Missouri’s government agencies.

About the Author

Christine Harbin

Christine Harbin