Thursday, April 21, 2011

Road Apples, #97

Toys...I continue to spend time learning how to fully use my now (very) smart phone.  The phone in question is a Palm Pre Plus and I continue to be impressed with all the "stuff" it can do. I have something like a dozen apps that I've installed on it, and some have turned out to be really useful, such as Weather.com.  Yesterday I got it set up to sync with my gmail calendar (now I just have to start using it...the gmail calendar that is).  Very smart indeed.

Chief Duffy...The saga continues of Scranton's police chief who insists, *gasp*, on actually fighting crime.  Why the audacity of the guy!  As I wrote earlier, Scranton's police union has filed a grievance, complaining that the chief shouldn't be stopping crime.  You simply can't make this stuff up.  As I mentioned this whole situation to a colleague at work we were both amazed at just how utterly idiotic this makes the police union look.  This is, I suppose, what happens when you let your emotions (emotions such as "I want to really screw the mayor because I think he is screwing me") get the best of you.

Graduation...In the "you are really getting old" department, my oldest daughter is graduating from college early next month.  Go figure...I think of myself as barely being an adult, but yet now I have a child who is getting a college degree.  Damn, life truly is what happens when you are busy making other plans.

Janet Evans...There has been something of an on-going war in the local media about the status of Scranton's City Council President, Janet Evans.  Specifically, Ms Evans is on a disability leave from her job as an English Teacher at Scranton High School due to some kind of back injury.  Apparently the Scranton School District (SSD for short) believes that they owe no one an explanation as to her status, how much she is getting paid, etc.  Not helping matters is the fact that the SSD's chief lawyer is the chairman of the local Democratic Party.  Anyway, it is puzzling that Ms Evans can sit for long hours at a Scranton City Council meeting but yet can't sit for long hours at school.  What's more, to her credit, she looks very healthy.  The bottom line though is that if you want to be paid by the public, then you should be prepared for lots of public scrutiny, period.

Conflict of Interest...Speaking of the SSD, the Chairman of the local Democratic Party would, you think, be inclined to do whatever he could to minimize the damage done to local elected Democrats, right?  I would think so, especially a Democrat who has some popularity, such as the previously mentioned Janet Evans. Fair enough.  What's not fair?  Well how about the fact that this same Chairman is ALSO the chief lawyer for the Scranton School District.  This leaves me asking the following question:  When Attorney McGrath is facing a conflict between his duty as Solicitor for the SSD (protecting the interests of the SSD and the taxpayers who pay his salary) and his role as local party boss & protector of Democrats (by, for example, protecting Ms Evans), what does he do?  Here's the answer that exists at least in my part of the private sector:  You simply don't allow even the appearance of such a conflict of interest in the first place.

I'll say this again...and again...and again...it is a conflict of interest for the same person to be BOTH a party official AND a Solicitor for a governmental body.  Recent events point this out in a most glaring manner.

Will this glaring conflict be resolved?  Of course not, as those same SSD Board members who could force Attorney McGrath to make a choice between these two conflicting roles will not precisely because they are beholden to him as the local Party Boss.

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