Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Brown Buries Common Sense; Ex-Cons Get Thousands

Inside Scoop Staff

Bobby Jones' New Best Friend
Taking my semi-monthly medication for insomnia Tuesday night by listening to the Helena-West Helena City Council meeting, I was awakened by an unusually long but typically nonsensical debate by the Helena-West Helena City Council covering the titanic issue of whether or not to give two department heads with criminal records raises of several thousand dollars each.

While our unemployment rate remains higher than the national average, our streets continue to become cratered with potholes, our parks continue to slip in further stages of disrepair, and our sanitation department spends more time walking behind pickups because the big trucks won't work, the most discussed question was whether or not to give Bobby Jones and Anthony Banks a large pay raise.

Throughout the meeting, alderman and city officials talked of the city's financial woes.  The council openly talked about defaulting on its loan from the city's water companies in the amount of $350,000.  The City Clerk reminded the City Council that she had not yet paid the premium for the city's worker's compensation insurance or the premium for the city's legal defense coverage (which it definitely needs under the Willis administration).  She also reminded the Council that the badly needed repainting of one of the city's water towers would not happen if the loan to the general city coffers was not repaid as agreed.

Mayor of Ga Ga Land
Despite all this information, Alderman Eddie Clark, in speech so eloquent as to inspire the recollection of memories of a famous cartoon written by Bill Cosby, introduced the idea of large raises for none other than the most controversial employee choices of the Willis administration, the dynamic duo of bosses with criminal histories- Bobby "Ga Ga" Jones and Anthony "King Deuce" Banks.

This isn't Clark's first effort.  He had failed before to get a raise for his fraction of a brother Bobby.  He got the immediate support from the other alderman who politically benefits from Bobby's network of hauling in and directing the exercise of the franchise from the maladjusted miscreant demographic- Daniel Strickland.  No one was really surprised that Jay Hollowell and Joe St. Columbia voted for this staggering lack of fiscal discipline.  Their professed fiscal conservatism and belief in controlling salaries and insisting on merit-based raises long ago began to play second fiddle to their political deals with the devilish among us.  Their minds change more often than Newt Gingrich changes wives.

Then, along came the alderman who campaigned making people believe he was against such craziness.  A man who said he stood for integrity in government and a continuation of progress- Undertaker Larry Brown.  Instead of holding true to his previously stated principles, Brown did for the city Tuesday night what he does in business every day- bury people.  In business, he gets paid for it.  We don't know what consideration is involved with this one.  Brown's vote gave the all-important fifth vote so that Willis could cast the vote for passage so that he could give his cronies thousands of dollars without any meritorious base for a raise whatsoever.  What we do know is that he changes opinions more than Mitt Romney.  We would call him "Flipper" but that would be an insult to that lovable dolphin.

Bobby has managed to take sanitation and almost run it aground.   Often you see trucks not working, workers throwing garbage into pickups, etc.  The parks after one year of the new leadership are still not in as good of shape as they were when Arnell saw fit to fire a man with a college degree in favor of one with a criminal record.
Raises for the Chosen Two; Suffering for The Rest of You
What basis was there for a large raise to two people while the rest of the meeting alderman cried out as if they were going to ask for alms for the poor?  No one with a rational brain ventures to guess.  Arnell Willis campaigned on taking the city in a new direction.  He just didn't tell us it was going to be down the toilet or that his goons would pull the lever and laugh as they received the loot while the rest of us swirled in the bowl beneath their soiled service.

While I didn't support Willis and maintained all along that the city would be in better hands with the previous occupant of the office, I never dreamed Willis would ever perform to a standard so low.  Nothing in his previous service suggested that he believed in uneducated individuals of questionable character being put in charge of departments.  Nothing in his business history suggested a propensity for large raises in a tight budget cycle to two people without a meritorious justification.  Normally, I would say, it can't get any worse.  However, my experience observing Helena-West Helena municipal government going back to my newspaper days over a decade ago teaches me that it probably can get worse and will.

Thank you Brown and Willis for our latest trip to the cemetery of stupidity.  Our only hope is that the bodies the Willis administration offers up for Brown to bury can somehow float back up out of the grave resurrected like a modern-day Lazarus to save us from the doom that seems to be a permanent state of existence in our failing municipal government.

Editor's Note:  Tommy "Car Wash" Cole called and asked that everyone be informed that while he is in the picture he was not involved.

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