Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Things that chap my ass - my semi-annual ranting rage rears it's shaggy head

(examples from last night's meeting)

Playing the "I'm the wise old man of the village, sonny boy, and I know better" card when you've forgotten to wear your hearing aid to the meeting. Yes, my voice is soft, but the clerk on the other side of the room could hear me clearly (and I know she has hearing problems). Do not speak over me when I'm talking (it's rude when you're young, it's rude when you're old) using your hearing problem as an excuse when you're two feet away and can see my lips moving. If I ask you a question, answer it, just as you expect me to answer your questions. Don't ramble on or just repeat your first false claim when I've asked you to support it. And while we're at it...

Playing the "It's worked for us for years and we've always done it this way" card when it obviously isn't working (if you were paying attention you might see that). And you know what? This isn't the 70s anymore. You might have missed it, but the world just lapped you. Seriously, I've heard this crap for too long now. We can't run the Village on $5,000 and off of the Clerk's dinning-room table anymore. The proponents of this like to say, "Back when we used to..." and then laugh that why can't we see how good and easy we have it now. Back then we didn't have police coverage all week or the full fire equipment we have now. We also didn't have a waste water plant that the EPA requires we have 24/7 management on. Regulations and training stipulations have changed. The cost of everything is nearly double. This is all before we get to how we actually get work done. We had two grocery stores and three auto dealerships, a vibrant retail community, and a growing economic base. We don't anymore. Our factories were state of the art, they aren't anymore. Really, make this argument again and I might just call you an ignorant hick backwater fuck on camera the next time. I don't care about your past service to the village, you're doing us a disservice now.

As to why it's not working. Okay, 1) we've been blessed with a Mayor that not only is highly skilled and talented (in ways he didn't know he was) he also had a job he could schedule around and is currently retired. His day job is highly flexible to allow him to do the things (he's not actually empowered to do) to keep the Village running and bringing in the grants to help us get some work done (really, the Mayor's position has been "full time" for the past ten years, it's only because we've been lucky that this hasn't been an issue yet). 2) Council does its kabuki dance to wave off suspicions that we aren't in charge (well, we are, but not as much as the Charter dictates), the "we broke up responsibility so we can keep it all on the part time" concept no longer works (see previous cluster fuck issues and the need to bring in grants and work with other communities and governments). 3) We have good employees that are able to manage themselves, and where we have supervisors in position they are also doing a good job. However, they would all benefit if they had somebody on hand they could go to for guidance, direction, coordination, and to make plain whatever needs to happen. If either one of those three legs, and let me be clear they aren't operating the way our charter dictates but just close enough, stops working or has a hiccup, this stool is going to tumble.

Not being able to understand plain English because you have no desire to actually listen to an answer that doesn't fit in your preconceived notions. Really, you pound the table and demand answers and then give me the confused puppy look when I give them to you? Sorry it wasn't what you expected, but that doesn't make me wrong. It just means I gave you the real answer, not the one you wanted to rail about.

Also, the whole, "but what'll we do if things go wrong?" argument is wearying. What will you do? The same thing you'd do now. Grow a pair and step up to the plate. That's why you're an elected official for Christ's sake.

And the argument about if the administrator is incapacitated and needs to appoint another to be in charge and ZOMGs! that might mean somebody else has to step forward and do the work and gee, maybe that might impact their own day job. Yeah, that's an argument FOR the goddamn administrator in the first place. Council needs to approve (or if the administrator is unable to appoint one Council has that responsibility) any appointment. Elected officials still control the village.

Let's be honest with ourselves for a moment. Our mayor is actually a full-time position now and has been for the past decade. Our committee chairs and president of council all work outside the village and are unavailable through most of the day. Our junior councilman isn't ready for chairmanship. Our senior councilman is now making an effort to attend committee meetings, but just like his last term, this is only because he's up for re-election (for the first three years of his term we didn't see him at any committee meetings, same as his previous term). The other councilman, well, he is running again, but I'm not sure of his health (and his being on council I believe changes his recovery from a "better" question to a "when will the next heart attack happen"). One BOPA member is out of the town most of the winter and is long past retirement (he has trouble following the meeting order even with it printed out in front of him). The other is the guy playing the "village wise man" schtick above and probably won't run again (also having the same trouble with meeting order on the meetings he runs). The third one is good, but I can see the wear of constantly being in the position of defacto leadership. And we have to beg to have these people serve, nobody is stepping up (let me say we are grateful they do serve and serve to the extent of their abilities). There is no up and coming leadership in the village.

Really and seriously, if you don't see that the current system as spelled out in our Charter is broken (which we aren't even following anyway except to give it enough of an appearance that we are if anybody asks) you're being willfully ignorant.

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