Thursday, March 1, 2012

Did they really think...? (part 2)

…they weren't doing anything wrong?

City Council members in Bethlehem, PA, sure do stand behind their votes. And they can stick to their guns. Or maybe they're just sadly disoriented, maybe a teeny bit ornery, self-interested small city politicians who don't mind doing the dirty, politically speaking, in public.

Could I be wrong here?

Seems the six members of council just can't get their heads together on appointing a new city controller to replace the hard-working civil servant who recently and unexpectedly vacated that position . It's an important function in city financial operations, it should be filled promptly. Initially there were a half dozen candidates. There's an election to permanently fill the seat in a couple months. Not sounding like a problem so far, right?

Ooops.......six council members have voted eight different times over the past several weeks in an attempt to pick a candidate, but an ugly stalemate has become entrenched. The three candidates on the short list have each received two votes in each of the six ballots…and the same two council members voted for each candidate every time.

No public accusations that any candidate is unqualified or on the run from the cops in Minnesota…no public elaboration by council members about their unrelenting failure to reach agreement on appointing a controller for the good of the city…finally, they agreed to never agree, and sent the selection task on to a county judge (the usual backup process, as spelled out in the statute).

What's going on here?

Obviously, something other than "picking the best candidate" is going on here. Obviously, something the council members don't want to discuss in public. Obviously, something that has nothing to do with availability of a suitable candidate.

In other words, this looks like a petty political logjam. Just like the petty political logjams that are producing the same old, same old failures to govern effectively in state legislatures around the country. Just like the petty, doctrinaire, special-interest-driven political logjams that are producing frenzied inactivity and preposterous, destructive, politically doomed "votes on principle" in Washington.

Our city council members should give back about a month's worth of their $7,000-plus annual salaries, because they haven't been earning their pay recently. Serving the public interest?  Nah.

But apparently, they thought they weren't doing anything wrong.


More wrong thinking....

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