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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Road Apples, #90

Egypt...This is another one of those "history being made" moments happening in Egypt as I type this.  Every freedom loving individual should be thrilled with events in Egypt; the notion that some (mainly n the far, far right) view this uprising with some skepticism says a lot.  As I have noted on a few occasions, if we, as Americans want to claim some moral high ground, then we actually have to act like we have the moral high ground.  Supporting a dictator who has run a country via martial law for 30+ years isn't what I would consider to be "moral".

Pain...Well via a combination of not really paying attention & your basic winter conditions, I managed to slip on some ice Sunday night, fall, and I ended up with a few injured ribs.  This is some seriously painful stuff, worse than just about anything else I've gone through.  It's also the first time I've ever gotten some hard-core pain medication (in my case Vicodin).  While the pain meds work, I don't get the whole addiction...I in less pain, but it doesn't work that good.  As for me, I'm sticking to my usual chocolate addiction.

Dating Policy...Minority Lackawanna County Commissioner A.J. Munchak stated last week that county government needs to augment its ethics policy to include some rules around county employees dating each other.  Seems reasonable to me, although it's important to remember that Mr Munchak has been a Commissioner for something like 8 years now, including one term as a majority commissioner, so if this were such a pressing issue you have to wonder why it wasn't tackled years ago.  Anyway, such a policy is needed. No one should ever be supervising...directly or indirectly...someone they have a personal relationship with, period.  If you are a manager you should not have this kind of relationship with anyone who directly reports to you or someone who reports to someone who reports to you (so by extension, County Commissioners shouldn't be able to have this kind of relationship with anyone working for the county).  If you are not a manager but you are in a position whereby part of your job is to provide feedback on the performance of another (think of a quality control person, auditor, etc.) then there needs to be rules in place whereby no one could be perceived as providing favorable treatment because of a personal relationship. Now I'm not being Draconian about all of this; if you want to date someone who is within your reporting chain of command, then there is a solution:  either you or the person you wish to date need to transfer to another department.  If you are an auditor and you want to date someone who has work that you need to review, simply disclose this fact and don't conduct the audit on the person in question.

Ice Day...My employer actually has a two hour delayed opening today.  That almost never happens, so it must be really, really bad out there.  Since I don't need another accident in my immediate future, I'm going to be ultra careful out there.  Sgt Esterhaus would be proud.

Scranton School Board...NEPArtisan reported Scranton School Board Director Chris Phillips has announced that he will seek another term in office.  You can read the announcement HERE.  I like the job that Chris Phillips has done; on my one and only appearance at a school board meeting this year he was attentive and all business.  However, I will confess that the promotion of his wife to a principal position does leave a bad taste in my mouth.  I am sure that his wife is very well qualified for the position in question, but that's note the point of an anti-nepotism policy.  Such policies exist in part to prevent the appearance of conflicts of interest.  As a member of the body that governs the Scranton School District, Mr Phillips is in a position to influence hiring decisions.  His abstaining from the actual promotion vote is just window dressing, because no one with an IQ above 70 actually believes that the "real" debates and discussions of government always occur in front of the public eye.  Bluntly, the right thing to do here was for either Mr Phillips to resign from the board or his wife voluntarily remove herself from the promotion list.  Since neither happened, voters in Scranton now have to weight this almost blatant act of nepotism against the other work that Mr Phillips has done as a director.  Like most things in life, this situation isn't black-n-white.

Public service in elected office is a privilege, not a right.

No one has a right to public employment.  

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