Friday, May 4, 2012
Grand Theft Chainsaw's Fallout Uncertain
How do you answer the door for Andy Sheehan? How? Even escorting a Girl Scout with cookies, I'd pull the blinds.
Here we go, in order: KDKA Wed. / Trib Wed. / P-G Thu. / KDKA Thu. / Trib Thu. / P-G Fri. / P-G Sat.
What a can of worms:
NEIGHBORHOOD NEEDS FUNDS: Many years ago under different leadership, the City approved a bond issuance to amass money that is treated a little more like "walking around money" or "fun money" by individual members of Council. That was one way to keep everybody peaceful and busy within City Hall, though I guess it stopped working. Many Council districts retain funding, hundreds of thousands, that is still carrying over. Expenditures from these accounts do come to the table for public votes at public meetings and are subject to multiple layers of oversight, often by Department heads and the Controller -- but in practice each Council member is given deference over their District's stash. There is perhaps less truly skeptical, critical oversight employed.
Now there will almost certainly be more scrutiny and controls placed over Neighborhood Needs money, though other officeholders like Controller Lamb and Mayor Ravenstahl will argue, "This is not best practices to begin with, give the money back!" The Council however with some justification will point out that their constituents still deserve any unspent money the way they voted to use it and go into debt for the sake getting back in the 90's -- especially constituents who have enjoyed thriftier political leaders who have disbursed less of it over the years -- and besides, a little petty cash does make for getting 'er done.
COUNCIL OPERATIONS: Staff members, especially chiefs of staff which is what we are talking about here, are generally and implicitly empowered to do routine things on behalf of their Council bosses. Business would otherwise move very slowly, Council members would need to attend work all the time, Blackberries would never stop ringing and honking etc. If the institutionally sanctioned trust between boss and staffer dissipates, that will cause some stress.
WHO ELSE: It seems pretty straight forward. The initial segment reminded me of that old tv show, To Catch A Predator. "Why don't you have a seat over there". But there is always a chance an alleged felonious perpetrator had alleged accomplices. For example, assuming our friend in question did not invent a purchase order number out of thin air, he probably really extracted one from the Department of Public Works. Do we chalk that up to legitimate staff empowerment and abused staff trust? One hopes. Is somebody at DPW being loose about approving purchase orders for certain people or in certain circumstances? One hopes not. Is there somebody at DPW being loose for such a host of individuals, that every reprobate scoundrel even from the highest offices will circle the wagons to protect this valuable corrupt benefactor -- whereas who really cares about our friend in question who got sloppy and landed on camera? One really hopes not.
MISCELLANEOUS: There are some inconsistencies among the various accounts; the usual.
THE SOURCE: Upstanding whistle blower? Vengeful political ninja? Does it even matter?