by John Grooms
As the late Buck Owens sang, my heart skipped a beat yesterday, but not because a woman was walking down the street. It happened when I read the first three words of an Observer headline: Harry Jones resigns, and I got all excited; a split second later, though, I read from ASC board, and the thrill was gone. Still, the rest of the story awaited. It turns out that County Manager Jones, the proud recent recipient of Creative Loafings Worst Member of Local Government award, is leaving the Arts and Science Council board because theres a conflict between his job and the ASC position. You see, part of King Jones job is recommending how much money the county should give to nonprofit organizations such as the ASC not to mention that he sometimes negotiates agreements and contracts with the council.
So the obvious question is this: Did Jones just now figure out that he had a conflict of interest? Really? Surely not. The way these kinds of things work, someone probably put a bug in the county commissions ear about the situation, and pressure was then put on Jones to let the ASC gig go. Considering the publics distaste for Jones shenanigans during the past couple of years, as well as the multiple calls for his resignation from the public and the media alike, he probably thought it was better to quit the ASC and lose part of his kingdom than risk his substantial meal ticket.
Jones, in case you havent heard, drew the communitys wrath when he accepted a $38K bonus soon after cutting county jobs and denying raises for the rest of his underlings. Tack on Jones slow-on-the-uptake response to the DSS scandal, his attempt to silence a critic by forwarding the critics e-mail to the mans corporate boss, and the management skills that led Jones to wait until nearly the last minute to tell CMS, Parks & Rec, and the Public Library that they needed to gut their budgets, and well, you get an idea why hes not going to win any local popularity contests.
The story of Jones resignation was covered in both the Observer and the Business Journal, but neither publication bothered to find out an important bit of information: how long has Jones been doling out county money to the ASC while serving on its board? Well find out and get back to you later, unless one of the papers that broke the story get around to finishing the job.