Defending Springsteen

Sunday’s Recorder editorial (here) critiques the recent decision of the corporation counsel concerning the recent executive order instructing city employees to seek his counsel first in legal matters.

What struck me in the piece was this section:

DeCusatis had his chance to be a policy maker at City Hall. He once sat on the Common Council, but has since been unsuccessful in getting elected to the legislative body.

It appears DeCusatis is using his position as the city’s attorney to perform a job he can’t get elected to.

Two things struck me with this section.

First, the title of the article (“Who’s the Boss?”) and the text suggest that this executive order cedes authority from the mayor and grants more authority to the corporation counsel. In other words, DeCusatis’ perceived power grab is for increasing his executive power at the expense of Mayor Thane. However, the editorial criticism leveled at DeCusatis stems from his desire to garner legislative power. Not only is his legislative electability irrelevant to the central issue — the merits of the executive order– but the editorial conflates executive and legislative power thereby rendering their premise for DeCusatis motivations moot by prescribing a legislative-based motivation to his purported executive-based actions.

Second, the text “It appears DeCusatis is using his position as the city’s attorney to perform a job he can’t get elected to...” struck me similarly to my prior critique of a prior editorial (here) which stated:

Knowing this leads us to believe Thane vetoed the measure merely to flex her mayoral muscle,…

I’m not sure why the editors need to guess as to motivations with no reasonable basis from which to draw or support those motivations just to frame a storyline. Perhaps the motivation in each case rests somewhere else completely with much higher likelihood and with much higher principles.

I take no issue with the editors differing on the merits of the policy or questioning the implications of the policy. I take issue with the underlying guesswork to motivation and machination.

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