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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Home Rule III: No way, no how

I’m sitting here listening to the police scanner. Some knucklehead is running loose here in the Nord End, and the search is on. I’ve got both the 75,000 candlepower Streamlight Ultra Stinger and the axe handle ready to roll.

Anywho, I found the new-and-improved version of the home rule charter for Luzerne County to be, um, disconcerting.

Or should I say, not even remotely worthy of my vote.

From the Citizens’ Voice: Panel ready to take charter to the public

From the Times Leader: Proposed county charter has rocky unveiling

The excerpt that most resonated with me: Wilkes University Political Science Professor Tom Baldino – a member of the government study commission that drew up a home rule charter rejected by voters in 2003 – was skeptical about the hired manager proposal, rather than having an elected executive.

“I’m still not convinced this is going to work the way you all envision,” Baldino said, warning that, because the manager would be hired by the council, he would be “beholden to the council” and thus not always act independently.

Haggerty countered that, if the manager does poorly, voters would take it out on council members, giving them strong incentive to pick someone qualified.

A “strong incentive?”


If the manager does poorly, those 11 council folks will quickly distance themselves from said manager, as well as make the argument that said manager was a good choice going in.

In other words, they will tell the voters in their respective districts not to “take it out” on them. And you know how it works, while the performance of the council as a whole may leave the voters wanting, those very same voters will likely approve of their council person’s performance.
Isn’t that why we have a U.S. Congress receiving a collective vote of ‘no confidence,’ while individually, those congressman are reelected over and over and over again?

And another thing: The system, whatever system, is only as good as the people comprising it.
If you have a do-nothing county controller (Maryanne, you getting this?), Little Red Wagon LLC drains a million dollars out of the system. If you have a controller committed to protecting our investment--our money--LRW never happens.

As for the current players under the rotunda dome, is it not blatantly obvious that, like Steve Flood before them, nothing unethical or illegal or fattening will go down on either Walter’s or Carolee’s watch?

We didn’t reinvent the political wheel when we elected those two, we rejected the status quo that is the Democrat stranglehold over this county. Proof that if we vote just a tad smarter, transparency in government is still possible.

And this “hired manager” proposal is not going to cut it as far as I’m concerned.

The Democrats in this county will spend whatever it takes to secure the majority of those council seats. And then they will appoint a county manager who’s name seems somewhat familiar, some recycled party apparatchik from within their ranks.

And any system, no matter how cleverly crafted, can be compromised from within if the people controlling that system have unstated goals that vastly differ from ours.

While I absolutely hate the current county code, which is little more than a gray area the expansiveness of which has no boundaries, I will not “vote” for an appointed county manager.

No way, no how.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. I am voting NO!