They’ve had their hands full repairing a city that, in the odorous spirit of the Grand Inquisition, the councilmen claim is marred by equal parts corruption and mismanagement. They haven’t had time to sweat the details or the small stuff.
They’ve had an inquiry to run — $60,000 spent poking like amateur sleuths around City Hall, finding little more than the occasional explainable human error and dust bunnies hidden like contraband underneath City Hall desks.
They’ve had city staff to micromanage.
They’ve had local public servants, from police officers to judges, on which to carry out personal vendettas.
They’ve had political agendas to manage.
Considering that heavy workload, perhaps Annistonians should cut them some slack. Is that too much to ask?
Likely so. Instead, let’s offer these councilmen a suggestion, thanks to the words of Ward 4 rep David Dawson.
Tuesday, the councilman asked, “I don’t understand it. Why did we not realize that we had that kind of money sitting around?”
Sounds as if the council needs to do something radical, something extreme. It needs to answer Dawson’s question — now. Or, in other words, it needs to explain to Annistonians how an often-dysfunctional governing body doesn’t know, as Dawson said, “that we had that kind of money sitting around?”
Sarcasm aside, this regrettable escapade is exactly the type of governmental malfunction that well-minded residents have been fearful of the last two years. While this council and Mayor Gene Robinson have warred with each other, majored in political missteps and wasted taxpayer money on the inquiry, it’s been impossible not to worry that City Hall was a captain-less ship that was liable to ground itself on a reef of ineptitude.
Well, it’s happened. This council, distracted by its own political breakdowns and inabilities, didn’t provide proper oversight of a Community Development Department that needed just that. And it’s cost Anniston more than $500,000 in federal grant money that could have been put to good use in helping homeless residents and others in similar situations.
What an irony.
By eagerly spending 60K on a farcical Grand Inquisition, the councilmen have seemed keen to place themselves atop a pedestal from which they can pass judgment on anything or anyone on Gurnee Avenue.
Today, these councilmen may be subjected to the same sort of street-level judgment that their inquisition has attempted to dole out since last summer. It’s a review that hints of those entrusted with taking care of city business being too distracted by their own missteps to see the fire burning in front of their eyes.