Monday, January 26, 2009

Can You Vote on Your Raise?

In Indianapolis, if you are a city employee and also serve on the city council apparently you can! Sweeeeeet work if you can get it!

This little piece in the Indy Star documents about five separate instances in which state and local employees, serving on town or city councils, voted themselves raises.

The single best example of this problem is the curious case of an Indianapolis Fire Fighter who cast the deciding vote on whether or not a friggin ETHICS PROBE OF HIMSELF would continue. I will let you guess how he voted in that particular instance.

But the best part of all this is the indignation that these "public servants" have been expressing recently in response to concerns that there might be a weeeee conflict of interest in this whole messy process. Well, don't be silly say the good members of the East Chicago city council, ALL of whom are government employees. Or the cop who pushed through new police cars and a raise for all police officers.

All of this is symptomatic of a much larger problem - government employees not only lobbying, but backing certain candidates who support more government spending. Take a look at this page from the American Federation of Government Employees, a step-child of the AFL-CIO. Is it right/ethical that a bunch of government workers can organize and contribute campaign contributions to their future bosses? Doesn't that cause, oh, I don't know, conflict of interest? I mean, ok, Sarah Palin is sort of flaky, and I'm not sure how much I wanted her in the White House either, but the president decides how many more government employees are going to be hired. How much government employees get paid. Stuff that seems, I don't know, unseemly.

I mean check out this anti-McCain ad from the same group. First off, they have to put this disclaimer in red letters about not viewing or downloading this page on any government computer. Does anyone seriously think that doesn't happen? And doesn't it seem a little weird that the union that represents every Federal government employee is actively campaigning against one candidate? Doesn't that seem weird for morale if that candidate were to win?

So I ask y'all - is it worse to be in bed with corporations, like Halliburton, or unions of government workers? Pick your poison, but prepare to pay through the nose when you live in Indiana.

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