There’s something inherently distasteful about a common governmental process that allows elected officials to appoint other should-be elected officials.
Consider Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter’s out-of-the-blue appointment of Michael Bennet to the Senate seat vacated by Ken Salazar’s resignation or New York Gov. Basil Paterson’s (who only ascended to that office after Eliot Spitzer’s dalliance with ladies of the afternoon became known) appointment of an obscure upstate Congresswoman to succeed Hillary Clinton.
And we haven’t even mentioned Rod whatshisname…
This afternoon, City Council will give each of 19 hopefuls ten minutes of face time, as they seek to choose The One to occupy the District 3 seat.
As a resident of District 3, I’ve got a dog in the fight. But after skimming through a few of the candidate’s responses to half a dozen innocuous questions posed by the Gazette, I’m dismayed.
Save only Sean Paige, our earnest job seekers delivered clichés by the bushel, or responses so eccentric that you wondered how they’d made it this far on their journeys through life.
One refused to answer most of the Gazette’s questions, noting that she would respond during her 10-minute interview this afternoon. Clearly, she doesn’t think that newspaper readers are an important constituency-and she’s right. The only votes that count in this “election” are those of the eight people at the council dais.
Another suggested that the city ought to start a bank, make loans aligned with civic purposes, and thereby rake in the dough. Sounds good to me – and I’ll be the first in line to apply for a small loan!
But, as one who once sat for many hours at that dais, thereby wasting what should have been the most financially productive years of my life, some unsolicited advice for this afternoon’s supplicants.
- Keep it short. Don’t use your full ten minutes. Council members would rather have a bomb thrower than a blowhard as a colleague.
- Remember, you don’t know anything, compared to the masters of the universe whom you aspire to join. Don’t talk about all your great ideas and programs-they don’t care.
- If selected, you’re the rookie. Your job: keep quiet, bring snacks, and volunteer for unpleasant duties.
- You’re appointed; they’re elected. Until you win an actual election, you’re a seat filler. Defer to their wisdom.
- Make it clear that you respect and support your superiors. They don’t want or need dissenting voices, or new forms of critical analysis. They’ve got Douglas Bruce to do that, not to mention Sean Paige.
Good luck! I hope you all lose-but someone will be the biggest loser of all, and get appointed. To you, my sympathies. Have fun working like a dog for $6,250 annually … would have been great pay in 1909, though!
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