Thursday, November 18, 1999
In what appears to be its crusade to erase the legacy of former City Manager Tim Brown, the Seaside City Council has lowered the axe on Information Systems Director Cecil Andrews.
The council last week approved a budget that eliminates Andrews' position. (Nancy Amos cast the single dissenting vote, while Darryl Choates bravely declined to vote on perhaps the most important thing that'll come before the council all year: the budget.) Nice way to treat a guy who has a reputation for working his fingers to the bone--even putting in hundreds of unpaid hours to update Seaside Library's systems.
Acting City Manager Rich Guillen favored the ousting, recommending that the council ditch Andrews in lieu of hiring a fire chief.
Now, Squid will agree that Seaside needs a fire chief, and Andrews may end up with a lesser position with the city, but a job, nevertheless. Call me crazy, but it seems to me that in a city that has consistently failed to disseminate information expeditiously, whacking your Information Systems Department isn't the brightest idea--especially six weeks before Y2K.
Seaside insiders say the firing has as much to do with political as budgetary concerns. Regardless of Andrews' performance, he--as one source puts it--"smells of Tim Brown," who originally created the department Andrews heads. Now, under Guillen's plan, computer geeks will report directly to the city manager.
How will the city handle Y2K? Guillen assures that the city is prepared. Could that be because of Andrews, who, with a skeleton staff, has worked exhaustively to update Seaside's systems?
Squid's advice? If I was Rich Guillen, I wouldn't make any big plans for New Year's Eve. And hopefully the new fire chief knows a lot about putting out fires--computer fires, that is.
The Economy Is Turning Into Jello
It's been more than few years since I took Econ 101, and I think I sold back my textbook on the way from the final exam to the campus bar. Well, last Friday night at CSUMB, Jello Biafra gave me a quick refresher course. If you missed the former lead singer of the Dead Kennedys' one-man performance, you missed a great scene.
Sure, I know a little about supply-and-demand and the Cost of Living Index, and that Alan Greenspan is more powerful than the every elected official in the country combined. But Jello put my meager credentials to shame, particularly when he talked about the minimum wage versus a livable wage.
Later, I happened upon this headline in the newspaper: "Experts Puzzled Over Lackluster Wages." If Jello had read the story, well, I wouldn't want to be around to see his reaction.
Seems that the U.S. economy is growing about 50 percent faster than wages are increasing.
Seems that CEOs now earn more than 100 times as much as their lowest-paid workers.
Seems that a temp agency has become the country's largest private employer.
Yet, says one of the many experts puzzled over lackluster wages, "Nobody knows the answer."
How could wages be lackluster during the lengthiest economic expansion in the history of the country? All this puzzlement, and my brain's turning into jello. Wish I still I had my textbook. Wish I had Jello's cell phone number.
All this thinking is making me hungry. Anyone for a Big Mac?
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