The needler in the haystack.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Temp budget: 'Fair' play or 'Dirty politics'?


'Fairness' in the age of chivalry didn't mean you wouldn't get killed,
it meant there were rules by which everyone played.
 
Plainfield's Council President Bridget Rivers made much at last Thursday's council meeting of the need to be 'fair' about the Mapp administration's proposed temporary budget. Fair enough, but is there something else going on? Dirty politics?

The concept of fairness arose in the Middle Ages as part of the knightly code of chivalry -- an elaborate set of rules, behaviors and expectations for conduct among knights and in making war.

In an age where deadly force was all too common, 'fairness' didn't mean you weren't likely to get hurt -- or even killed -- it meant you knew what sort of behaviors to expect from your opponents and what behaiors you were expected to show them.

So, is Council President Rivers wants to be 'fair', that implies behaviors nd expectations on both sides of the spat over the temporary budget appropriation.

A Council majority has made little secret it is unhappy over Mayor Mapp's proposal to fund some lines more than others -- in particular, appropriations for his office, which includes his chief of staff.

Though the Council approved the position (and salary range) for a chief of staff even before Mapp took office as mayor, there seems now to be a sticking point.

'Fairness' suggests the Council should either fund the position without questions (as it did in the past for Mayor Robinson-Briggs' confidential aide) or openly and frankly explain its objections.

There is a further procedural 'fairness' that also needs to be observed, and that is making sure that the Council's committee system works properly and according to some basic rules.

At last Thursday's meeting, Councilor Storch expressed surprise that Councilor Reid spoke as if for the entire Finance Committee even though, according to Storch, it had not met. The committee is composed of Councilors Reid (as chair), Storch and Taylor. If Reid and Taylor consulted without including Storch, that would not be fair.

'Fairness' has to be practiced by everybody in the game and all the time, not just by some and when they like.

Otherwise, you have what Councilor Taylor might call 'dirty politics'.

And 'dirty politics' is something that is definitely not 'fair' -- nor do we need it.





  -- Dan Damon [follow]


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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dan if you talk about fairness then let's be fair. Mayor Sharon Robinson Briggs had a part time aide not a $80,000.00 person sitting in her office

Anonymous said...

mmmmmm... those Damn Republicans sticking it to the Mayor like that... if only we could get some Democrats in office who wanted to move this city forward instead of those obstructionist looking out for their own self interest Party Hanger on Republicans who are blocking this city from advancing.. I hope everyone remembers this at the next election and gets rid of those shifty Republicans

Dan said...

@ 9:23 Am -- If you followed my argument, it goes this way: If the Council gave Sharon what she wanted and that was fair, then what is fair about not giving Mayor Mapp what he wants? Fairness is about having rules and respecting them regardless of who is up at bat.