Friday, January 22, 2010

Little Davey Lost His Scooter

It is official. Scooter Chumley has submitted his letter of resignation citing a need to spend more time with his family.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Baby Wrote Me A Letter

A translation of Scott Walden's resignation letter:

Yo - Mayor Dave,

I am submitting this letter of resignation because of my health. Since I have nothing to lose, there's a few things I have to say about the lousy way you run the borough.

1) Stop worrying about making ACT happy and do what is right for the borough. Having integrity means not breaking the rules then blaming it on others. You don't have to have a re-enactment of the gunfight at the OK Corral every time the Assembly disagrees with you.

2) Why are you giving big pay raises to Chumley and Wilcox who may not have the capacity to understand the complexities of borough issues? Oh, and more and more, those issues seem to be beyond what you are able to comprehend.

3)Just because you go to a meeting doesn't mean you are listening, understanding, or have any curiosity as to how or why things are done. You also need to appoint people who are qualified to do the job they are supposed to do. Duh!

4) To get good advice from the department heads, you need to create an atmosphere where they can disagree with you and your staff without fear of repercussion. If everyone agrees with you all of the time, keep in mind that they shouldn't. You are not God.

5)When the Assembly questions what you do, they are doing their job - they were elected to do that and then to try to make decisions for the good of all. Hiring qualified people is best for the borough. Being completely transparent when you give pay raises is essential.

6)Everyone knows that Charlie Pierce is your bee-atch. Paul Fisher tries to be, but he usually can't figure out what is actually going on during the Assembly meetings.

7) Don't make things up when asked questions during Assembly meetings. Come to meetings prepared. If you don't have an answer, make sure you get back with all of the facts ASAP. Don't have underlings take the heat for you or your staff.

8)Service boards make suggestions. While the borough's decisions can take their recommendations under consideration, the decisions that are made need to account for how the changes will affect all involved and probably should involve the folks that run the departments.

9) Ms. Miller is not qualified to run Human Resources (you had to change that job description to make it appear as if she did). She doesn't have the needed people skills, the backbone, nor the self-control to be a real professional.

10)Ms. Miller is a loose-cannon and because she doesn't play nice with employees and other department heads has created problems so big, that I've to consult with the borough lawyers in an attempt to make things right.

11)Ms Miller defers to too much to the borough employee union; what are we, a worker's paradise?

12)We are giving up too much to the union. Back to the salt mines you peons!

So, to sum it up: take this job and shove it.

Have a nice day,

Scott Walden

Well, OK, it is a loose translation. But Scott didn't tell Hizzoner Dave anything that we all already didn't know.

What's up with Walden's attacks on the union though?

Carey's response has had the typical arrogant and dismissive tones as whenever he has been challenged by the public or the assembly. What else can he do now though without seeming like a clueless loser?

Here's an idea. A meeting with a handful of selected current/former assembly members (Assembly President Pete Sprague, Gary Knopp, Bill Smith and Ron Long - none are Carey cheerleaders - but at least one is supportive, and all are reasonable and have been around a while) and maybe two non-appointed and completely respected department heads and come up with sensible plan of action for Carey to follow that ensures cooperation, transparency, and integrity.

And some appointed heads should probably roll.

Or Carey can throw a hissy fit.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Local Football Star Makes $700

A few days ago, an anonymous SOL reader posted a comment wondering why an armed robbery in the FM parking lot happened to miss the Police Reports. The post implied that the incident was a bit too close to the Soldotna Police Dep't.

A few rumors began circulating, and then Saturday, on page 4 of the ADN, the story about the arrest of SoHi's former football star, Anthony Griglione, for faking a robbery in an attempt to steal drugs, was published. Michelle Quelland, Jesse Chumley-Lawson, Jesse Honrud, and a minor were involved in the incident. Griglione is now on the lam.

It's always a sad thing when kids go bad; sometimes the kids are from good families and sometimes from a dysfunctional ones. It's embarrassing to all who are related to the perps.

But it seems that if you are from a connected family, that somehow the story might be omitted from the local news or perhaps left out of the police reports submitted to the media. Michelle's father is a Soldotna policeman and Jesse is a relative of Scooter Chumley, Mayor Carey's Chief of Staff. The incident took place on December 29 - nearly two weeks ago. If some normal low-life was involved in the incident, it probably would have been front-page news the next day.

All this does is fed the rumor mill - and the faked drug deal/robbery has been the buzz of the town today. The most damning thing I've heard is that all were detained at the scene - but then, because of being connected, were later released.

But who knows?

The surest way to spread rumors is to suppress the facts about what happened

It's easy to pretend that this sort of thing doesn't happen in SOLdotna, but that is obviously not the case. While most of the student-athletes at SoHi are outstanding young men and women, this isn't the first case of the children of the powerful, including school-district administrators, being exempted from drug-related or other criminal investigations after being caught in delicate situations.

Given the hero-worship that is given to the stars of the Stars' football team, it is not all surprising that some youngsters get the impression that they can do no wrong.

Unfortunately, this is the way the world works.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Dave Carey: Many Wrongs Make It Right

Mayor Carey’s previous full-time job was as a high school social studies/government teacher at Skyview. I wonder what his reaction would have been if he had a student who forgot to turn in an assignment and the kid used the excuse that he didn’t know about it. Then, imagine if the student alleged (without any real evidence) that another student during a previous term also didn’t turn in an assignment, so that made it OK for him not to do it too.

And then, to make the matter go away, the proposed solution was to say OK, you don’t have to do the work. But this exception applies ONLY to you and no one else.

The other kids in the class might not think that was fair. And if ignorance was a legitimate reason to excuse an assignment, soon the whole class might make this plea. And because someone else may or may not have done the same thing, is that really an excuse for you?

This is what Mayor Carey and four assembly members tried to with Scooter Chumley’s failure to turn an Intent To Do Business With the Borough form and his no-bid deal with CES. For the sake of the appearance of clean politics, their proposal was voted down by the other assembly members. Gary Knopp, one of those trying to make an exception for Chumley, does business with the borough and somehow he managed to get the right paperwork in. Mr Knopp was able to find out what was required, so why has this been so hard for Chumley? Instead, the mayor and his chief-of-staff said the fault was with borough underlings. To blame un-named borough employees for Scooter's oversight is a cheap shot.

This isn't rocket science - it's basic political science. And didn't Carey teach Government classes?

Let’s just assume that Scooter honestly didn’t know that the form had to be turned in. It happens. What might have been the most up-front way to deal with the oversight? Why not admit the mistake, begin over and follow the law? And then rather than slough off any personal responsibility, be willing to accept any slap-on-the-wrist that might be meted out. Would the assembly seek criminal or civil repercussions? I highly doubt it.

Isn’t this what Mr. Carey, the teacher, would have said to the errant student? Do the work, and don’t let it happen again.

But rather than man-up, Carey and others are offering some lame excuses for the second-in-command. Scooter’s defenders are going on and on about his good name, but what is happening here is that Carey and Chumley are coming across as little baby whiners. If it was an honest mistake, just admit you messed up, apologize and move on. Don’t make excuses.

Carey has continued with his juvenile antics by complaining about the media. But all the newspapers have done is their job – they’ve reported that Chumley didn’t file the paperwork and was able to procure a no-bid borough contract. That’s it and that is what the news is supposed to do.

But Carey wasn’t done. At the assembly meeting, he claimed that you couldn’t really put this kind of deal out to bid because, says Dave, that maybe a company in Florida has a used tire changer. How would we be able to tell if it was any good?

There are very simple ways to check things like that out, and besides the borough is not obligated to necessarily go with the lowest bid. But Carey, the alleged fiscal conservative, has no problem by-passing the system. Maybe Scooter’s deal is good for the borough, maybe it isn’t. An open, honest bid proposal is the proven way to make sure.

Otherwise, you just leave the door open for abuse. That is why the law is there.

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