Sunday, January 8, 2012

Don’t Hire the Politically Handicapped

Forget political parties; forget ideological affiliations; forget political patronage; forget everything you ever learned about right and wrong and ask yourself if you believe there is any job in the world that can only be done by one person and one person alone!
In other words if the person doing that job was suddenly gone would that mean the job would go forever without being done? Should we close up the entire shop when one of the key players leaves?
Of course this is absurd and only vastly egomaniacal people with personality disorders bordering upon insanity would think so.
And yet we hear this kind of talk every day on the political stage. And I call it a stage since we can all see that our leaders are indeed players acting upon it with generally no real idea what their next line is. They are given those lines by the true rulers of the country working behind the scenes in board rooms and proverbial smoke-filled rooms of Wall Street and the like.
But don’t think these anti middle class shenanigans are only played out on the national stage. Pull back the curtain a bit and you will find these acts are as abundant if not more so ‘off-Broadway’ as well as on albeit in a much smaller market affecting smaller numbers of citizens.
This week it came to light that New York’s Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone hired Fred Pollert to fill the role of Chief Fiscal Deputy.
This is good since we all know how badly government is doing these days and a little fiscal responsibility wouldn’t hurt.
But 62 year old Mr. Pollert is already receiving a tax payer funded pension of just under $133,000 per year to twiddle his thumbs. The hiring of this former budget guru will now cost the cash strapped county an additional $175,000 per year. Not to mention increase the man’s future pension higher into the stratosphere.
Of course the county must secure a waiver in order to get Mr. Pollert his extra spending money but since when did a small matter of keeping within the law ever stop a little back room deal from becoming a reality.
But as I said at the beginning of this piece let’s forget all this and focus on one statement made by the man about to dole out more cash from the cash strapped coffers of the county.
“This is a classic definition of why we have a waiver,” Bellone said. "We have a fiscal crisis . . . and there is no one who has Fred's wealth of knowledge or depth of experience to get the job done . . . We cannot afford time for a learning curve."
No one???  Not even Ayn Rand (I shudder to mention that name but for effect what the heck.)
Naturally the arguments will be made showing the mans credentials and the possibility that he can help the county in the long run but my question is simply, if he is the right man for the job then why should we not ask Mr. Bellone to step down and let the real man do the job?
Again let me iterate that Mr. Pollert has performed admirably in his previous positions including his work under Steve Levy, the Demopublican or is it Repubocrat, I forget which former county executive of Suffolk.
Fred Pollert also moved into another high paying position after his last stint in public life to work for LIPA, or as I affectionately call it, LIPA-suction since it tends to remove all the fat from the wallets of Long Islanders.
I understand that when one wins an election and has to start governing it is a good thing to have people you know working alongside you. It is also important to have the right man, or woman for that job. But is it possible that in the end there is only one person that can foot the bill, fill the vacancy and do the job?
We are already paying Mr. Pollert a more than adequate thank you for 27 years of service. Could there be another person with some financial knowledge and skills somewhere out there who may, for reasons not of his or her choosing be unemployed and in need of a job?
Remember what Ben Franklin said when he purportedly proposed choosing an elderly woman to receive his affections over a younger one; (sic) she is much more experienced and far more grateful!
And so too the person hired to do the necessary job of cleaning up the county will not have any party affiliation or be burdened by the need to pay back a favor other than the one to his new employer, Suffolk County!

No comments: