Dad. Assistant City Manager. Surviving.

Category: Asides

Our Government is Stupid

For every buck we spend we borrow forty cents and if that isn’t stupid. You’ve got a country that is stupid. A government that is stupid.

-Former US Senator Alan Simpson, co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, on our government.

Edward Glaeser on The Daily Show

John Stewart interviewed Edward Glaeser on The Daily Show earlier this week.  It was in reference to Glaeser’s new book Triumph of the City, which has seen rave reviews.  It sounds academic, but as a student of local government, I can’t wait to read it!

Life-Saving Choices in Tucson

From Bloody Scene to E.R., Life-Saving Choices in Tucson – New York Times.

Younger Employees are Important

Just one more reason why younger people in government (or any field, really) are important:

To make matters worse, seniority rules resulted in the layoffs of younger tech-savvy employees who were among the most skilled in resolving computer problems, the report said.

“Those folks who were sleeping on cots to fix this system are the ones who were shown the door,” said one former employee.

North Carolina Forces Amazon Associates to Leave

TechCrunch is reporting that Amazon Associates members in North Carolina are having their memberships discontinued because the state of North Carolina will be taxing Amazon Associates payouts.  Amazon Associates is a program that allows members to get referral fees for directing customers to  I’m not a huge fan of internet-type taxes, but this law forces Amazon to collect sales taxes (I don’t quite know what on, because the Amazon Associates member isn’t purchasing anything) to raise minimal revenue (the source of which will dry up, since Amazon is dropping the program in North Carolina).  Apparently online music and e-book purchases (think iTunes or Amazon Kindle) will also be charged sales tax.

Gwinnett City Uses Citizen Budget Committee

The City of Duluth (in Gwinnett County, Georgia) is using a unique method to make appropriate budget cuts in these hard times: “The brainchild of City Administrator Phil McLemore, the citizens budget committee is made up of 35-plus ordinary folks tasked with offering suggestions for cutbacks and ideas for generating revenue.” I think increasing citizen involvement in any level of government is a positive accomplishment. Involving citizens in the administration side of government, especially budgeting, can only help local governments make the needed tough cuts in a manner acceptable to citizens and public leaders.

Open Source to Save Money

Slashdot links to a BusinessWeek article that introduces open source and reports on companies using open source to save money.  Some popular software they list as cost-conscious include Linux (operating system), Apache (server), MySQL (relational database), Firefox (web browser), Xen (virtualization), Pentaho (business intelligence), (full office suite), Drupal (content management system), Alfresco (content management system), SugarCRM (customer relationship management), and Asterisk (telephone switch/PBX).

Budget Problems for Cities

USA Today reports on declining city budgets and the cuts made in response.  Doesn’t look great, especially for those working in local government (like myself).

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