Merry New Year, Guyz n Galz!
The New Year brings a spirit of eternal hope. New beginnings and long called-for endings. A blossoming forth of new opportunities. A renewal of the soul.
Then there’s City Politics. Where it seems the only thing new is the same ol’, same ol’.
Not this year! The voters have demanded a change at the top of the City, sweeping out the administration of one Paula Hicks Hudson and ushering in the young, the fresh, the freakishly different Wade Kapszukiewicz. Dramatic change is in the air!
Except that it isn’t.
We’re number two!
Wade promised to end the age-old practice of political patronage, whereby political friends and cronies are rewarded with plum jobs, without regard to merit. Wade instead promised an exciting team of policy wonks like himself building a grand new vision on the twenty-second floor.
Who has he tapped to lead this team of bright young minds?
As of this writing, no one. That’s right, after a two month transition, and two full weeks into a new administration, Wade hasn’t found anyone to be his Chief of Staff. He has, however, inexplicably appointed two Deputy Chiefs of Staff. Deputies to a leader to be named later.
One of these co-Number Twos without a Number One is Karen Poore, a former member of his leadership team as County Treasurer, former Treasurer of the LC Democratic Party, and political friend and crony. The other is Abby Arnold, holdover from the PHH admin, daughter of former Chair of the LC Dem Party John Irish, and political friend and crony.
But wait! Rounding out the fresh new team of brilliant young minds, here’s the legislative coordinator, Gretchen DeBacker a former judicial candidate and Wade’s campaign manager, political friend and crony. So there’s that.
Old familiar faces
Speaking of PHH holdovers, Wade has kept her Director of Public Utilities, Director of Public Service, and Police and Fire Chief. Wade says he’s going to find a new Director of a couple other units, but hasn’t figured out who yet. So those divisions limp along with lame duck leaders from the old PHH days who know their days are numbered, but don’t know how big the number is. And some units have no leader in place at all.
The more things change, Wade, old chap, well, you know the rest of that phrase.
Change is coming in Economic Development and Finance, though. Wade and his campaign, ummm, leadership team have said a national search is underway for Directors of these departments so critical to the advancement of the City. They have had nearly three months to find these transformative leaders. And have come up snake eyes.
In the meantime, Finance has all the same yahoos from the PHH days who fumbled the ball on the $8.2 million parked in the Debt Service Fund. And Economic Development has no leadership, just lower level PHH refugees.
The one change Wade has made is in a new Director to lead the diversity efforts of the City. He has searched high and low and found PHH aide Alan Bannister, who is a refugee of the failed Hillary campaign who then found a safe haven with PHH. And now Wade. Oh, and Wade paid back a political debt by appointing a new head of inspection.
So that’s the Wade revolution so far. Promises and lofty words, while filling his administration with political friends, PHH refugees, and players to be named later. In the meantime, water pipes continue to burst and the City’s scourge of violent crime continues seemingly unabated.
Merry New Year doesn’t really begin to express our joy. More like, is that all you got?