Every time The Curmudgeon thinks he’s done complaining about Philadelphia city council’s hiring practices another example of those dubious practices comes along.
Take Christopher Wright, who was sentenced to four years in jail in 2009 for accepting favors from developers he assisted while a member of the staff of a member of Philadelphia’s city council. When a court vacated the sentence based on its own strange interpretation of the law Wright was freed from jail and the district attorney, concerned that the passage of time would make his witnesses ineffective, chose not to re-prosecute the case.
So what happened to Wright?
Another member of Philadelphia’s city council recently hired him as a legislative aide. He will be paid $70,000 a year.
That council member, according to the Philadelphia Daily News, described Wright as an
…extremely experienced legislative aide who uses his deep knowledge of city government to serve all of the citizens of Philadelphia.
What everyone except the councilman who hired Wright is thinking: “And especially to serve himself.”
What could the member of council possibly have been thinking when he made this decision?
An interesting side note to this – interesting, at least, to The Curmudgeon – is that Al Taubenberger, the council member who hired Wright, is a Republican. The Curmudgeon is not pointing this out to suggest that Republicans have any special talent when it comes to incompetence or corruption; to the contrary, he believes political incompetence and corruption are equal opportunity poisons: all parties suffer from them.
No, The Curmudgeon raises this because there are so many contrarians – people even more contrary than The Curmudgeon, if you can believe that – who like to go around telling Philadelphians who are unhappy with their city government that it’s their own fault because they keep electing Democrats to office. There is certainly something to be said for that, but when the Republicans give you people like Taubenberger (who ran for mayor and lost in 2007) and the councilman who hired Tim O’Brien, the subject of yesterday’s story, it seems ridiculous to suggest that voting for candidates from a different party will make things better regardless of who those people are, just so long as they’re from a different party. It doesn’t work that way.