Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Under The Boardwalk

Way Under. . .

Here at The Community Alliance, we typically take aim at town and county as models of inefficiency, ineptitude, and mediocrity.

Today, we extend the reach of communal wrath to the city -- of Long Beach, that is -- where none other than the NYS Civil Service Commission has found that the "civil service operation is so flawed that it is impossible to determine if employees are qualified for positions they hold or receiving salaries commensurate with their job title..."

[Read the release at]

And while the City of Long Beach, of recent vintage, has become inexorably intertwined with the Town of Hempstead, where parts and parcels are interchanged almost at will (as in City Manager, Charles Theofan, who bounces back and forth between the town and the City of Long Beach like a pinball), in this instance, at least, we felt that Long Beach deserved the dark spotlight all to itself.

Says the NYS Civil Service Commission, in pertinent part:

Two reports rated the effectiveness of Long Beach Commission operations on a 100-point scale. The administration of the appointment process received a score of 26, and the payroll certification program received a score of 0. In both cases, the Long Beach Commission was rated as "Not in Compliance" with Civil Service Law and Rules.

"The State Commission is particularly concerned because these serious deficiencies in the Long Beach Civil Service operations have persisted for at least six years, despite many changes in Long Beach Commission membership and staff," Commissioner Groenwegen said.

The Long Beach Commission has jurisdiction over at least 1,086 classified service employees—477 employed by the City, 576 by the Board of Education, and 33 by the Housing Authority, based on workforce data provided for the 2008 calendar year. The Long Beach Commission was unable to produce any definitive documentation of the number of Library employees. Of the classified workforce, 730, or approximately 67%, are in the competitive class.

The lack of basic records and documents regarding the appointment process makes it impossible for the Commission to certify many of the personnel transactions under its jurisdiction as being in accordance with Civil Service Law and Rules.

Sounds very much like the reports on the operations of the town's Sanitary Districts, doesn't it?

Read the full reports at:

Incompetence, like water, seeks its own level, and we all know that it's not always (or often) the cream that rises to the top.

In Long Beach, we fear, that breach of both Civil Service rules and public trust flows from a willful vein, arrogance trumping fairness, and an intent to both deceive and deflect virtually built in to a system that serves its patrons rather than the public.

The question is no longer, "how long will they get away with it?", but rather, "how long will we, the people, allow such chicanery to go on?"

Folks, we can continue to pray to Mediocrities, that great god of Long Island, or, at long last, we can begin to rise above our own expectations and demand better, both of those who govern, and of ourselves, the governed.

In this season of renewal, the rebirth of hope, of passion, of community itself, let us all rise to the occasion.
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A sweet Passover and joyous Easter to all of our friends (and especially to our enemies ;-).

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