Apparently, the City and Borough of Juneau just won the New Jersey Powerball lottery or somehow became rich beyond belief. How else can you explain the recent proposals by our local government to spend upward of $600,000 converting a warehouse as a clubhouse in which to count local election ballots?
And the decision to create a new tourism coordinator at a cost likely to exceed $150,000 in total labor costs every year must mean our little community is loaded with dough, right?
I’m not buying this propensity to spend, spend, spend.
Juneau doesn’t need a designated facility in which to count votes once a year. Count them in one of the gymnasiums, at Centennial Hall or in aircraft hangar if need be, but let’s not blow hundreds of thousands of dollars on a facility we do not need. And this nonsense about hiring an expensive coordinator to address tourism is another folly. We already have a number of bureaucrats assigned duties related to tourism. If the management team down at 144 Seward St. is incapable of coordinating a coherent strategy among the various departments with a finger in the tourism pie, then assign one of the existing bureaucrats with responsibility for some aspect of tourism to be the coordinator and schedular for meetings to work out a plan that serves the public and visitors.
For way too long, the response of the CBJ Assembly to any actual or perceived problem or concern is to hire more staff who often study and talk about issues. Would it really be so bad of the Assembly demanded more action instead of increasing staffing levels and settling for continued chatter among the bureaucracy?
At some point, the reflexive response routinely displayed by our elected local officials in terms of adding more staffing and an expansion of programs has to end. The public deserves and should demand action, not more additional and expensive talk.
• Joe Geldhof is a Juneau lawyer.