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Discussion of Summer Hiring Policies for the City of Richmond: A Fantasy

05.26.10 03:09 PM – Andy McDonald
Discussion of Summer Hiring Policies for the City of Richmond

Mike Brewer: Before we end this meeting I want to raise a question about the hiring procedure for summer workers. Let’s say a job comes open during the summer at the swimming pool. How does the city go about choosing a replacement to fill a vacancy?

Jimmy Howard: The city maintains a list of candidates who applied for that specific job, and when an opening comes up, the next most qualified candidate can reapply once that job has reopened. So it’s based on their qualifications.


Howard: The city should employ an objective standard in its hiring practices by not showing favoritism. Do you see what I mean?


Bill Strong: Maybe we're not being clear enough. Sometimes we'll get a call from a family member of a young person needing a summer job. You’re saying there’s nothing we can do to help them?

Howard: Well, if they are the next qualified person on the list, and assuming there is a vacancy, then perhaps we could hire them.

Strong: But I want them hired.

Howard: I understand that, but…

Strong: And I picked them.

Howard: Right.

Strong: And their parents vote.

Howard: I’m sure they do, but…

Brewer: Maybe you don’t understand. This is Richmond, Kentucky. One of my constituents has asked for a favor, and I want to give it to them. This is the way business has been conducted in this festering sumphole of political corruption for decades. Now you are saying I can’t get someone a job?

Howard: It’s a question of fairness, commissioner. If there are 15 applicants in line before the person you want hired, and we hire the person you want ahead of all those others who have followed the rules, that wouldn't be fair, would it? You and Commissioner Strong understand the concept of fairness, don’t you?

Brewer: Do what?

Strong: What if I gave you a silver dollar?

Howard: I’m afraid not.

Strong: What if I dressed my applicant up in red, white and blue and said it would hurt the feelings of all of our brave veterans if you didn’t hire the child of my constituent?

Howard: Sorry.

Strong: You’re un-American, that’s what you are.

Howard: No, I’m not.
Strong: From now on, we should call you Osama Bin Howard because you've proven that you hate veterans and you hate America.

Howard: That's just absurd.

The chamber is silent as Brewer and Strong fume silently for a long moment.

Brewer: Simon says ‘Hire my applicant!’

Howard: That may have worked with regard to Camp Catalpa, but it won’t work now.

Brewer: I won’t be your best friend.

Howard: The rules are the rules.

The chamber again falls silent.

Connie Lawson: Come on guys, it’s a matter of fairness. Don’t you think one of the fundamental goals of city government is to be fair to all of our citizens?

Brewer: That depends on what the definition of the word ‘is’ is.

Robert Blythe: Mayor, in the interest of wasting valuable time and municipal resources, and in observance of my policy to studiously avoid contributing anything substantive in the discussion of a controversial matter, I’d like to propose that we table this item, then divert our city attorney from the mountain of litigation facing the city to the seemingly useless task of convening a study to determine precisely what the definition of the word ‘is’ is.

Rita Smart: Well, I think I can speak for all the commissioners…well, most of us, anyway, when I say I know the definition of the word ‘is”. What would such a study accomplish?

Blythe: Ordering a study will allow us to accomplish two important things: First, to completely duck the issue, while second, appearing to take action on this item without actually taking action. It’s been my standard procedure.

Brewer: And while you’re at it, have him study this strange concept you call ‘fairness’.

Strong: Jimmy, I mean, Osama, if you don’t let Mike have his way, I’m gonna take the entire city staff out to breakfast and not invite you.

Howard: That’s unfortunate, Mr. Strong. But the policy still stands.

Strong: Eggs, bacon, toast, grits, and a big slab of fried pork. Mmmm.

Lawson: All this talk of breakfast is kinda making me hungry. Can we adjourn soon?

*End of Transcript*

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