April 05, 2004

It’s Those Feuding Council-People Again!

Richmond’s Fiscal Crisis Generates Unnecessary Blaming Contests
By Fred H. Arm
Here we go again! It’s not bad enough to have a budget $35 million in the red, but to have to endure the endless blaming and hostility between the staff, council-people, mayor and administration, can be a bit daunting. No matter who carries the lion’s share of blame in Richmond, the plain facts are that everyone has some share in the culpability--either for their own actions or their inactions, it matters not. So what!

Unless they can all learn to work together to resolve the crisis, the crisis promises only to get worse as the bickering continues. The common denominator for this group of Rocket Scientists shares is plain and simple--fear. The employees fear the loss of their jobs, the administration fears going into bankruptcy, and the remainder fear that their fragile egos may somehow become impaired. So let’s get real and do something about it!

Unfortunately, very few of the players have any idea how to run a business, (let alone a city) so they simply try to run it like a traditional government bureaucracy. This theory no longer has any validity in the twenty-first century. It takes a businessman or woman to effectively cure the problem and then to insure that it does not happen again. If a proper consultant were hired aboard with carte blanche authority to clean up the mess, it would be only a matter of weeks until the “cure” begins to take effect. It takes courage to hire someone of that caliber.

The alternative is to simply file bankruptcy. Once protected by the Federal Court system, the recalcitrant City Council and their employee’s union could begin again from square one. The onerous salaries, pensions, and the like would likely be drastically reduced to a level compatible with the revenues received from our taxes.

By the way, speaking of taxes, this how we our civil servants receive their pay: We each pay hundreds and thousands of dollars a year in real estate, sales, utilities, etc, tax to the City to protect us from fire, crime, regulate business, fix our streets, and generally run the City. If we had hired a contractor to do the job we would have simply fired them long ago and found a replacement. Why can they not run an efficient city on $90+ million a year of our tax money? Good question. Maybe we should just fire the city and do it ourselves? Food for thought, eh?

It is time to bury the hatchet and choose the path for our future. Richmond could be quite the city under the proper leadership. Is there a leader among us strong enough to face down all the hostility, special interests, and opposition? Is there anyone out there that cares enough to make a real difference? It can be done given the right leadership and the courage to make a difference. Where is the Terminator when we need him?terminatorAA.jpg

Posted by fredarm at April 5, 2004 06:42 PM
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