Forgetting for a moment the bipolar nature of our recent weather in the swampland of the D.C. greater metropolitan area one can turn a head and look askance at the city of Rockville and continue to laugh uncontrollably at the permutations the city staff puts itself through as it has presented a new budget for review before the city council.
So far apparently not one member of the city council or the city management staff has taken me up on my challenge to ride with a member of the police department as patrol officers struggle to keep the city safe.
Informed sources tell us the city police department is already struggling to do more with less now the city has grown a bit, and the city’s police department – with an extremely competent chief of police – continues to find innovative ways to do honest-to-God community police work without becoming a paramilitary organization like other policing entities.
Rockville is indeed blessed by having very competent police from top to bottom, unfortunately they are so good the city is taking advantage of them by not increasing the police budget enough to make a difference and especially by forcing police officers to work for substandard wages.
Last week we challenged the staff and council members to travel with police officers and look them in the eye and tell them they don’t deserve a stepped pay increase coupled with a cost of living increase.
As I’ve said, apparently no one is taking us up on the challenge. I say apparently because I’ve yet to hear from anyone proclaiming their desire to shut me up.
Perhaps the city staff doesn’t take it seriously, or me seriously.
After all it’s obvious they don’t take the police department too seriously because they don’t care to offer the police department a raise or increase the budget enough to allow the police to keep abreast of the growing population and problems in Rockville.
This brings me back to the weather. Anyone who listens to WTOP or any other local radio station knows by now that PEPCO is blathering about, spending money on advertising telling its customers it is on the “cutting edge” of technology and has improved the company’s performance remarkably during the last year or so.
That is hardly remarkable as PEPCO’s performance was so low as to be nonexistent in some cases. Claiming to be on the cutting edge of technology by this power company is as if we were listening to a Neanderthal’s claim to be on the cutting edge of 18th century science.
But PEPCO, an energy company that buys most of its energy and only supplies it across an aging infrastructure that still hasn’t been brought up to date, is intent on telling us how much better the company is doing so it can raise its rates yet again for its stockholders to enjoy hefty profits.
Perhaps the City of Rockville can take a page from PEPCO’s playbook. We all know PEPCO isn’t telling us the unvarnished truth. One can stare at the sagging overhead transmission lines and know “cutting edge” and PEPCO are two ships that don’t even see each other in the night, let alone pass one another. However, PEPCO is spending money selling us on a different notion.
Rockville city management staff doesn’t even do that.
In other words we don’t even get the pretense of respect from the city. Its arrogance is only overpowered by its collective ignorance and its continued stubbornness.
The true colors of the city council have become public in the last council session as the new mayor sees herself with perhaps one ally fighting against the “Team Rockville” that won a preponderance of council seats but not the mayor’s seat.
Better the council put aside its differences and concentrate on doing a decent job for the beleaguered staff and residents of Rockville who continue to suffer.
Failure for the council and mayor to find common ground will continue to lead to a vicious power vacuum hired city management staff is only too eager to exploit.
We’ve already heard about the thinly veiled threats as the appointed staff reminds the elected officials they are “only one vote among five” and can do nothing to stop whatever it is city staff wishes to do in the name of the city of Rockville.
We aren’t suggesting anything nefarious is going on – though it may well be that is the case. We are pointing out in the bluntest terms there is no way to manage a city staff as long as the elected officials fight like school children in a sandbox.
Without the political acumen to sell it like PEPCO does, or the courage to take me up on the challenge to ride with the cops, it can only mean one thing: Business as usual in Rockville.