Friday, March 16, 2007

When The Shit Goes Down

"When the shit goes down, you betta be ready" -Cypress Hill, 1993

So, this morning was like any other Friday morning. I'm at work early for the 7:30 am meeting to discuss what we'll discuss at the 7:00 pm Monday evening meeting. I hate this standing pre-meeting, but the powers that be deem it necessary, so I'm there. My boss has another meeting at 8:00, so he skipped this one and went directly to that one.

Anyway, the City Manager and the Mayor call on one of my direct reports, Gasbag*, to give a project update. I sit in my seat ready to fill in any gaps in information. This particular report is on establishing a new h.istoric di.strict. This means everybody who lives within the boundaries will have to abide by the design criteria set by the his.toric dist.rict co.mmittee before they repair their houses. The Mayor lives in the area of the proposed district and opposes it. She tells Gasbag, "I think this designation should be reserved for neighborhoods on the decline. A neighborhood like mine doesn't need an extra level of protection".

Gasbag breaks protocol. "May I ask a question?", something that's never done at these meetings by staff. The mayor allows it and my staff person says "So you're comfortable allowing this designation to occur in poorer neighborhoods, keeping the burden of maintaining historic homes to the people who can least afford it?"

The room got eerily quiet. I put my head down. This is one of my direct reports asking the Mayor if she was advocating injustice. The City Manager glared at me, the Deputy City Manager, Hannibalette, leaned over and said "Your staff person just crossed the line". She was pissed so I knew I hadn't heard the last of it. When Gasbag was dismissed from the table, I knew my day wouldn't go well.

After the meeting I talked to Gasbag and told her she made the Mayor look bad in front of citizens and the press. Gave her advice on technique to educate the Commission while not making them look foolish. Once I left and got back to my office, the heat was on.

Hannibalette called me. She was pissed. "You are responsible for your staff. Your staff made the Mayor look like she was in favor of injustice and inequality. We are advisory to the City Commiss.ion. How dare she ask a question of the Mayor in that forum, in that manner? In no uncertain terms, I want her to know that either she's advisory to the City C.ommission or she's an advocate. We don't pay advocates. She's a budget line item. Nothing more, nothing less. Are we clear?"

When my boss came in, I gave him the background story. He's thinking about the next steps. In my heart, I know the die has been cast. I can guarantee you this: when the next budget comes around, there won't be a historic preservation line item.

Be Easy,

*This is a double edged nickname. Gasbag is always "breaking wind" in meetings. Every time we're in a meeting, she's letting out these silent but deadlys. She thinks just because they don't make a noise folks won't notice. She's wrong! She also talks all the time, a mile a minute. Thusly, she's a gasbag.


Anonymous said...

I understand the implications of breaking protocol and making you look bad but aren't you tired of fake people being politically correct all the daggone time? I am. The question was legit and if the mayor's neighborhood wasn't in question it probably wouldn't have been such an issue. At least she asked it at the pre-meeting and not at the meeting-meeting.

By the way, Hannibalette calling ole girl a budget line item was fvcked up.

Anonymous said...


Knockout Zed said...

You're right, Gasbag was right. 100% right on the money. She called her on it and it made her look foolish. You know what would have saved Gasbag the trouble? Do what I used to do when I was in her position: feed my talking points to a community based, like minded person to blow up the spot in my stead. That's how you gotta do it. Use a proxy!

Hannibalette is SO VERY GANGSTA! She was on my ass.

Damn is right!


calikim9 said...

I agree with Chele, she is on point. Gasbag did ask a legitimate question, the Mayor and her advisors should have been ready.

Miz JJ said...

I would have thought it, but I would never have said it. Not if I still needed a job. Although, it did give me a good chuckle. Anyone with a brain should have asked that type of question. The mayor made herself looks stupid by making that type of comment.

Knockout Zed said...

If you're staff and you can be fired "at will", you don't make the bosses look stupid. She was right, but is she prepared to be fired for it.

@Miz JJ
The Mayor is an elitist snob, but she's still the Mayor. Every politician has a God Complex or is certifiably insane.


DivineLavender said...

I thought my Friday morning meeting took the won this one!

I hope your weekend goes better.

Cum Often!


Disco said...

damn! again! I guess I'm a chicken shit cause you could not pay ME to cut my own throat in a meeting w/ the fuckin mayor! I'm all for the proxy! raytn l