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Phil In The Blank


Phil in the Blank A column by Phil Custodio


Tragedy of errors



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March 02, 2011 - Appointment of Independence Township's new clerk should not have been this hard.

Township Board appointed a blue-ribbon selection committee specifically to screen out unqualified candidates. The township board lauded all three finalists, praising the committee's good job.

So when it came to appointing a new clerk, it should have just been a matter of who made the motion first. Whoever it was for, Joan Patterson, Joan McCrary, or Barbra Pallotta, should have then been approved – how can you vote against a candidate you're on record as saying is qualified to be clerk?

It turned out board members considered some candidates more qualified than others, holding firm, voting repeatedly against candidates they didn't like over the course of three meetings, before breaking the deadlock last week.

Sad.

***

Government budget problems at federal, state, and local levels reminds me of a Ponzi scheme, but a quick Wikipedia check shows it probably isn't.

Ponzis require a central schemer, like Bernie Madoff. Government budget problems have been going on too long for that.

It's not a bubble either, another type of scam – that's what caused the real estate and foreclosure mess. Bubbles can be based on the "greater fool" theory, though, each fool relying on a bigger fool to keep things going, which may be onto something.

Robbing Peter to pay Paul? That's what union protestors in Wisconsin are asking for. Just raise taxes.

Pyramid scheme sounds close, relying on an unrealistically high rate of return and a steady flow of new money to pay previous investors.

With the growing number of government retirees and less money to pay for new employees, it's getting a bit top heavy – inverted pyramid scheme?

***

I apologize to Mary Hubble and her family and friends for last week's blunder, putting her in the embezzlement story. Her name was in archived stories on the subject, got mixed into my brain, and popped out in the exact wrong place.

Lots of people want me to fall on my sword for this, including my boss. I'll do better next time, if I'm still here.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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