Feel a song coming on! OR a fable, parable, fairy tale…since I don’t wish to injure anybody’s feelings. Allow me to illuminate a local problem, perhaps a universal one.
This is a story of two councils as well as of some sorts who opine that it might be “good to be (Mel Brooksian) king”. It’s that “political season” period when every gentleman one can imagine MAY be running for office in the near future, so much so that those “seated” officials are wriggling around barely able to administer their duties due to excitation’s overwhelming levels. Rather like when a popular, pretty, self-promoting girl may become homecoming queen if enough votes for herself are generated via penny pitches?
One of the councils, county oriented, actually conducts sessions of meaningful duration. Elected representatives propose, vote and successfully govern. Recently, according to the “fourth estate”, these fellas voted to maintain insurance options for council members in a fair vote after a prolonged discussion…4 to 3 in favor. Their pay is meager, their duties formidable. So be it. Sillier money has been spent on loony projects throughout the ages…some upon our immediate horizon. Hear, Hear, county councilmen/commissioners–’tis unnecessary to malign your upfront, aboveboard, PUBLIC, “mulled over” decision.
Another council, in charge of our fair city, in none of their 15 minute bi-monthly meetings ever made such a call, as upon their collective election these council-persons sat down to their first meeting as victims of a “lame duck” ploy abolishing their healthcare coverage. No perks for these folks whom we had just chosen, even though insurance coverage, a la “job description”, may well be a major reason why anybody might fathom the humiliation, endurance, and financial costs accompanying competition for any office whatsoever. The number of citizen complaints, 24/7 on-call duties, ulcer-producing stress, pajama party “retreats” in cities other than our own, open hostilities when a member challenges the status quo–these reasons alone might qualify for medical/accident insurance. We don’t know unless we’ve been there. At the very least, this “insurance or not” policy could have been voted upon justifiably by the newly elected council members and published so that we readers could judge, for ourselves, who wishes to appear so noble as “not to burden us poor ole tax-payers” thus rejecting personal insurance and who else feels adequate coverage probably to be deserved.
My city councilman husband cannot get in two words edgewise regarding willy-nilly non-approved new vehicles, puzzling rate increases, “certain” salary raises, landscaping projects, purchases of “antiquated” buildings destined for demolition in order to construct new ones, or whether or not pajama “retreats” (at a considerable distance from already-paid-for-headquarters) should be classified as foolish expenses. Would that he ever aspire to the “monarch” role at home or within council chambers, he requires a megaphone. Robin Hood (“loved by the good and feared by the bad”) himself would be assuming elected office armed with a “pre-existing medical condition” as well as the possibility to tumble down city hall steps, contract salmonella poisoning at yearly city-government-sponsored holiday banquets where television sets and P. Buckley Moss prints “prizes” flow like water, or become a car wreck victim while motoring all about the state to “bond” at p.j. retreats.
Moral of this story? Everybody desires insurance coverage…this is America, and that would be a vote which we should trust that our elected representatives could equitably register, while then living peaceably with the resultant consequences. County Council members may now suffer heart attacks, have wisdom teeth extracted, receive eye exams, and mend broken bones. City Council members serve simply out of the goodness of each of their souls with meager recompense, in a quaintly provincial sort of manner, most of their legislative dealings occurring via the hand-picked Board Of Works, actually.