Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Hiatus is Over - Al Is Back!

I was killing time at the Starbucks next to city hall before the city council meeting. A few weeks earlier I'd shocked everybody by showing up to a Board of Adjustment meeting wearing suit and tie. They're usually more informal than the council meetings, and the board members never seem to dress up anymore, it seems, although a couple of decades back we did.

The city staff for the most part is fairly new and had never seen me wearing anything but jeans, but here I was at a third consecutive meeting, wearing a different suit to each one. In my old suit'n'tie days my hair was shorter, less grey, and there was no beard. Now it seems that it doesn't matter about my hair or beard, or how I wear it. Styles have changed and a ratty looking mop of disheveled hair with jeans becomes a distinguished hair style with a suit. Go figure? (Plus the ladies just love to fawn over it, even run their fingers through it, while their balding husbands cringe.)

Tomorrow I'll put a on a suit again to attend a preliminary budget hearing. One of the items is increasing salaries ten-fold for the mayor and council. They were set in stone about 45 years ago, and stayed the same all these years. On the other hand they have added very generous medical coverage, a car allowance, and a large expense allowance over the years. My beef isn't with the increase for the mayor and council. What I'm seeking is an increase for members of the Planning Comission and the Board of Adjustment. We still get the same $10 a meeting that was also set in stone over 45 years ago.

These days I probably spend twice that amount just for gasoline as I drive around looking at the various properties that are on the monthly agenda. If I don't look over a property it's kind of hard to vote on whether or not it should get a variance from the city codes.

In the meantime everybody seems to be speculating as to whether "Al's new image" means that I'm thinking of a run for a council seat. No, I'm not. Scott Galvin and I both live in the same district and he still has three years left in his term. He's doing a great job too. He can't run for a third consecutive term, but who knows what'll be in three years? For now I'd be thrilled just to meet expenses on my board position. I managed to splash a bit of that coffee on my sleeve and getting the suit dry cleaned was a few cents over eleven bucks. All for a ten dollar board meeting. Whoopy-do!


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