Judy Wilson syndrome

August 4th, 2011 by Ken

There’s an illness, a malady, sweeping our elected officials. It’s so pervasive and encompassing that it makes them unable to be good stewards of the taxpayer’s money.

I noticed it first, several years ago, in Judy Wilson, when she was Thurston County Commissioner, and since have seen it in almost every local elected official. It’s probably rampant at the state and national level, but I can only speak about it locally.

Here’s the way it works.

When an individual is elected to one of our local offices be it city council, school board, county commission or port commission, I think they want to do a good job. They want to represent their constituents and watch out for their interests.

But after they’ve been in office for a number of years, usually around five years, after they’ve been re-elected to their second term, they begin to change. They no longer represent the people, but begin to represent the agency which they supervise.

It makes sense. Take the city council for example. They’ve been on the council for five years. They’ve invested their energy and time into putting in place, rules, regulations and statutes which they hope will make their city a better place in which to live.

But, now, they have to make certain those new rules will function. That means they have to provide the means by which the city will continue to operate. They now have ownership in the city and its success. And, they’re convinced that the only way their efforts can succeed, is if they have enough money to make them succeed.

And, that’s determined by the city staff, the people for whom the councilmember was once in charge. But, times have changed. The councilmember now no longer works for the people but now works for the city staff, because it’s the city staff who are going to make the councilmember’s vision come true.

And so the concerns of the taxpayers are shunted aside and the needs of the city come first.

You can recognize the symptoms. They usually manifest themselves right after the second election. It’s then, the councilmember begins to talk about the need for more revenue, for more staffing, for more regulations.

There are few who can resist it. Their success is now wrapped up in the success of their organization. They’ll do whatever it takes to be successful even if that means throwing the taxpayers under the Intercity Transit bus and telling them it’s good for them.

Watch for it to manifest itself in your elected officials. Particularly after they’ve been re-elected.

Posted in Government, History, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News

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