To the Editor:
Debate and Switch: A Fable for our Times
Once upon a time in a poor little county in a sun-baked land, there lived two men. One, elected by the citizens was named “Hy,” another, his numbers man and scribe, named “Mitey.” Together they worked on a budget for the county.
The employees and the citizens were alarmed at Hy and Mitey’s creation of a new personnel department, and while the people debated this idea for a month or so, Hy and Mitey came up with an even better plan. But they kept it secret until the very last moment. This kept the Locals busy and distracted on the personnel department issue but the big whammy was yet to hit. Boy, were they blindsided; a brilliant maneuver on the part of Hy and Mitey!
At 4:30 Friday afternoon before this highly controversial budget was to be decided upon that following Monday at 9 a.m. (allowing for one hour of perfunctory public input), a new and amended budget was released.
This amended budget would have another very highly-paid new position in it (for which Mitey, coincidentally, would be an excellent choice, as he had helped write the job description and had all the required skills). This job would essentially be doing duties Hy was elected to do. And now Hy could just concentrate on his other important duties such as resting on his laurels. What a plan! No time to ring the alarm.
Monday came, the citizens had their hour but Hy and Mitey had the power, and the plan passed.
With the meeting adjourned, the dazed public staggered out into the light of day and were overheard to say, “Does this mean we should have paved his road?” one asked. Another with glazed eyes responded, “does this mean the new County Administrator runs the county and trumps the court?”
An astonished third remarked, “I thought I knew who and what party’s principles I was voting for. I feel sucker punched and cheated. And Hy got a big raise, way more than the other employees, and was allowed to opt out of his health insurance. We didn’t do that for anyone else. Seems like he’s getting more money for less work. It sure smells.”
“Well, all in all,” said a woman with a child, “I must say this was quite a show; so much smoke and mirrors and such a winding, crooked path to here from where we started. If it wasn’t so aggravating, it’d be funny, cause it sure don’t seem right, does it? Well, let’s go home. We’re done.”
“Yeh, we been done to,” said a wise old farmer. “But, we probably can’t do anything about it till the next election. For now, they hold the reins. Speaking of rain, wish we’d get some. Maybe by 2012. Think we can hold on till then?”
Sallie Ann Satagaj