“Your Money’s Worth” by James Jay Schifrin

image020This week in Patronage County, the Coalition Opposing Unemployed Politicians came up with the idea of electing nine county commissioners instead of three.

After the life squad left, the current commissioners told the media they’d have to study the matter before commenting. Then they held a closed-door meeting to discuss it.

“What timing,” said Commissioner Pilfer. “First we’re in trouble for giving ourselves pay raises while laying off county employees. Now they want to expand the board and dilute our power. The next thing you know they’ll be electing block captains.”

“We might even have to let someone from the other party in,” agonized Commissioner Filch.

“No problem,” said Commissioner Swindle. “We’ll still have control. We can cut a deal there.”

“But on top of that, they might expect us to hire a professional county manager,” argued Commissioner Filch.

“Maybe we’d have to set up a real personnel department. There goes the old patronage system. How do they expect men like us to stay in office?”

“It could be worse,” said Commissioner Swindle.

“Worse?” cried the others. “What could be worse than electing three times as many commissioners and paying us a lousy twelve grand, instead of our $32,000?”

“They could realize that’s all we’re worth and just keep the three of us and cut our pay by two-thirds,” Commissioner Swindle explained.

This op-ed column first appeared in the feisty Mt. Washingtoimage024n Press personally edited by eminently renowned publisher Dennis Nichols on March 18, 1981.