Wide Angle: The State at Work

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A little on the side: Maj. Adolph Dalaney reconstructs traffic accidents at the Liberian National Police Headquarters. Because he only makes $20 a month, victims can pay a little extra for a favorable report.


Alfred Tartea, an acting superintendent of a nearby district, says, "As a civil servant, you have to do something on the side to survive." He sells DVDs.


Office space: Christian Chea, governor of Liberia's River Gee County, doesn't have a budget. Locals built his mud office with their own funds, but they had nothing left for doors or windows.


Josephine George-Francis, governor of Montserrado County, sewed the Liberian flag that hangs in her office.


To serve and protect: Marlene Abigahit Choque, detective in the Potosí homicide unit in Bolivia, shares a car with the vice squad. "If the car is gone," she says, "we take the bus."


Josué Galarza Mendez is paid roughly $140 a month to keep Potosí's streets safe.


Long days: Constantino Aya Viri Castro is a constable in the Bolivian village of Tinguipaya. He says he doesn't have much to do, which is fortunate since his police force cannot afford a telephone.


David Ruiz Coro, who heads the public works department's urban and environment projects, often works 12- or 13-hour days. At $340 a month, he is a well-paid official by Bolivian standards.


Paper pusher: Anna Mikhailovna Ivanova is a state archivist in the Siberian city of Tomsk. She determines the keywords for stocking files regarding the city's buildings and streets. She says her salary is "secret information," but the average income for such a job is $170 a month.


Neighborhood watch: Thirty-year-old Yevgeny Leonidovich Bill is the only police officer in Tomsk's Chigarsky district. He does his patrols on foot, covering an area of more than 6 miles. "There are not many criminal offenses here," says Bill, "except drunken husbands who beat up their wives and the other way around."


Next in line: Ram Yadav wanted to be a history teacher. But, for the past four years, he has worked as a police inspector in Bihar province, an Indian state that borders Nepal.


Om Prakash has served as a senior civil servant in the same province for 16 years. The tablets that hang overhead list the names and tenures of all the officials that have come before them.


Man of the people: Since 2001, Harsh Deo Prasad has served as the village secretary of Tehta in India's Bihar province. Rather than occupy an office, he resolves farmers' complaints at a desk outside.

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