Wonderland 12010

I have many names for the budget process , some more impolite than others, so it’s hard to temper comments on the Corporation Counsel controversy as that now entwines itself in the budget controversy. But let me ask a few questions , impolite I’m afraid:
1) Why not nearly the outrage at salary increases at the GASD administrators versus the Corp Counsel? Oh right, the Corp Counsel actually performs above expectations.
2) Why is it fine for everyone else to advise on city on various matters “off the record” if you will  but not for the Corp Counsel? Curious, no?
3) Is it not fact that the Corp Counsel’s budget and hence support staff was reduced by a previous Common Council for, let’s say it politely, less than economic  reasons?
4) And the most important question: What determines how much someone should be compensated? Is it not in part based upon experience, time and expertise? Or are salaries wholly constructs of collective opinion that states something akin to “as little as possible”. This is the similar argument against school teachers who basically “earn too much”.
Our budget process should be bottled as shampoo: Lather, rinse, repeat.
PS Just to counter the inevitable demagoguery at the common council meeting tonight: I’m one of the people who voted for Thane and DeCusatis so when you say you speak “for the people”, please expressly state the caveat excluding me and the majority that voted for Mayor Thane.

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4 Responses

  1. Rob Millan says:

    Another good one.
    I found the op-ed piece in today’s local newspaper to not only be immature in its use of words (‘cheerleader’?… ‘mayor-attorney duo’?), but also unfounded in its offense against the current Corporation Counsel. It also appears the writer(s) cannot distinguish the differences in their arguments for not approving a pay raise: economic climate; or a past vote where Mr. DeCusatis failed to gain the approval of the Common Council, which itself is an illogical connection between approving the appointment or approving the raise. But as the host here would say, ‘let’s suspend reality for a moment.’
    I am a bit perplexed by the same op-ed in its vilification of DeCusatis for his part in having ‘found a loophole’ rather than praise him for that effort, seeing how ‘finding loopholes’ is EXACTLY WHAT LAWYERS DO. So I wonder what their and others’ takes on everyday Wall Streeters who hire accountants to ‘find loopholes’ in the tax laws that allow them to make highly effective use of tax shelters so that they pay the absolute minimum taxes and keep more and more of their income. Didn’t think so. Those loopholes are okay, right?
    To continue a discussion with a colleague and related to this, apparently some people of the Rip Van Winkle persuasion have been asleep so long that they’ve forgotten the days of the former administration, where the previous Corporation Counsel ‘found a loophole’ in assisting the former assessor in crafting the ‘never-reversible’ tax cap. But that loophole’s okay, right?
    The local newspaper should just own up to their enigmatic opinions of the Corporation Counsel and just admit their reason for distaste in a pay raise stems from their personal dislike of Mr. DeCusatis; nothing else, since it could very easily be argued that Mr. DeCusatis’ efforts have warranted one.
    Lastly, I sure hope the usual anti-Thane big-mouthed yentas (who are already in full force) will be equally critical of the Common Council and the Budget Review Committee as they are of Mayor Thane and Mr. DeCusatis in this debate, as there is no singular reason or force behind it.

  2. Tim Becker says:

    Flippin’ I understand and agree with your countering the “mandate of the people” stuff, but I think you risk countering too far in the other direction. I’m somewhat perplexed how you portray the mayoral election as some sort of “double bill” similar to the presidential elections. No doubt, GD was part of the Mayor’s platform, and any informed voter would know that. However, I don’t think it’s reasonable to assume that every vote for the Mayor was a vote for 100% of her platform. Many voters, I’m sure, looked at the positives and negatives of each candidate and voted for the one that had biggest net positive for them. Most voters would fully expect the Mayor to pursue her platform, but I think they also would have assumed that it would be done in the context of checks and balances with other duly elected representatives.
    That being said, it’s nice that there is enough pie in the budget to go around this year such that the politicians didn’t have to fight too much over it. Or is it? 🙂

    • flippinamsterdam says:

      I agree: I don’t think it’s reasonable to assume that every vote for the Mayor was a vote for 100% of her platform Indeed, I disagree with a number of things as well. My point is simply to push back, perhaps too hard, against those who claim to unilaterally speak “for the people” when it is more than clear that they have no such mandate nor claim to do so.

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