Tuesday, January 07, 2003

May the best candidate win

I have a strange habit.

Several of them really.

But this one I do always gets looks.

When I'm at a store, I'll ask a clerk, "If I was (product), where would I be?" rather than just saying, "Where's the (product)?"

Stupid, I know, but habits are hard to break.

Well, if I was a jury, I would still be "out" over this whole police department hiring deal.

If you haven't already read the story on today's front page, do that now, then come back.

Okay, we all caught up?

Good.

First off, I think that Phyllis went about it the right way.

Hiring two police officers at the earliest convenience is a necessity for the city.

The fact that we had to "skirt" the Civil Service list, and as such pass by a reportedly qualified black candidate, is a shame.

What it isn't, though, is a conspiracy.

For the sake of speed — and speed is needed — we had to hire the "laterals" instead of going by the Civil Service list, which we normally follow.

That will get us two patrolmen in just a few weeks. Those patrolmen can get out on the pavement and keep you and me and my family safe from the would-be bad guys of the world.

Now that that's solved, let's get back to the Civil Service list and hire the best candidates.

That's B-E-S-T. Not B-L-A-C-K.

Now, I'm not saying to NOT hire a black candidate. I'm just saying don't hire her — or him in this case — only because he's black.

"He has to be the best candidate," said Police Board President James "Jimmy G" Gugliuzza.

Well said, Jimmy.

I would hate it if we hired this guy and he is led to believe that he was hired just because of the color of his skin.

I would hate it even more if we really did hire this guy just because of the color of his skin.

Discrimination is discrimination even when it's reverse discrimination.

Here's another bad scenario: (Candidate) reads the news reports and concludes that the only reason he's being considered is because he's black, opts out because he wants to be considered on his merits, not the color of his skin, and we're back to square one.

Unfortunately, I don't think that any of those scenarios are going to play out.

Here's how I see this happening:

The Police Board will make its recommendation at noon today to hire two additional candidates using the Civil Service list.

Alderwoman Green will take that recommendation to the Common Council next Wednesday.

It will get held up, delayed, or otherwise misplaced and tabled until the meeting on Feb. 5.

The Common Council will grandstand their own respective views and in the end ...

We won't see a vote on the issue because Schrader and Green will know that they haven't made their case to Cercone that the city can afford it and it will end up stuck in a 3-3 tie.

(Candidate) will remain an officer at the Fairfax, Va., Police Department, laughing come December when we're stuck in the Blizzard of '03, the police department is begging the Common Council for extra manpower, and he's still basking in the glow that is Virginia in winter.


Scott: If I were a happy police officer, where would I be?

Clerk: Fairfax, Va.