The City of Cincinnati

HAS A BLACK budget.

Double-yew. Tee. Eff? Ninjas in black jumpsuits? Rapelling down from the observation deck on Carew Tower? Popping out of their blinds at the 50-yard-line in Paul Brown Stadium? Surgical strikes against Covington?

No, Baby Doll. Not spec ops. The whole damned budget is a black hole.

Brian Thomas, 55-WKRC Morning Show host, had two union reps on Thursday. Now, regular readers of BTB know I hold no brief for unions. But, day-um! The tale of horror these two had to relate ought to have the good citizens of the Queen City storming Ninth and Plum with torchces and pitchforks.

Seems the unions, being faced with demands for concessions, on account of the aforementioned brazilian-dollar budget shortfall, asked (totally reasonably, seems to me) for a peek at the city’s books.

No problem, says Hizzoner the Mayor. It’s a matter of public record anyway, right?

Nazzo fast, Guido, sez the budget director (a permanent civil-service bureaucrat). You can look at the summary for the last year, but no more.

Ridiculous.

So the unions went to court. Their lawyer being the former city Safety Director (boss of police and fire departments), thereby knowing where all the bodies are likely to be buried. Judge takes one look at the sitch and issues an order to the city: Cough it up, boys!

::crickets::

It’s some kind of a secret that nobody — especially not the taxpayers footing the bill — can be allowed to see.

A black budget.

That’ll go over like a lead Zeppelin.

The real frustrating part is that this is an election year. And — for once — the people on the ballot are behaving (more or less) sanely. It’s the bureaucrats — the ones you can’t un-elect — who’re acting all corrupt and shit.

Kennedyesque, if you will.

High-handed. Arrogant. Over-reaching. Cruisin’ for a bruisin’.

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