"We need to have people in office ... who are educated on things. If you hire someone for your company, you're going to have to train them, and you're going to have to continue to train them."
-- Augusta Commissioner Corey Johnson
Our friend Mr. Johnson is right, as far as he goes.
But his logic breaks down if he's talking about continuing to spend big bucks to train an employee who's leaving in a matter of weeks.
That's the case with Commissioner Calvin Holland, who has joined three other Augusta commissioners on a four-day National League of Cities conference in San Antonio this week -- despite the fact that he's leaving office in some seven weeks.
The cost of the trip is about $2,200 a person.
Would Mr. Johnson ever deign to make his argument at a private company? Would he dare try to convince the boss that the company needs to send an employee to San Antonio for training -- mere weeks before his retirement? And in the worst economy in decades?
Of course not. Why? Because it's ludicrous on its face.
The difference is, this is taxpayer money they're spending. They don't have to care. And they don't have to convince the "boss" -- the boss is taxpayers, and they can just take your money.
Indeed, commissioners Holland, J.R. Hatney, Alvin Mason and Johnson went out of their way to spend taxpayer money for this little junket: Having already depleted their own travel budget, they took the city administrator's money instead.
Who says the economy is bad? Not these guys!
Not as long as they can spend your money, that is!
Hardly makes you want to vote "yes" for the proposed new 1-cent sales tax, does it?
Given that the commission is facing an approximately $8 million deficit in next year's budget -- and the fact that they can't seem to agree on important issues, and often break down on racial lines -- you have to wonder if these yearly excursions where commissioners hobnob with their fellow wizards are paying dividends for the taxpayers footing the bill.
"When can we expect to see evidence of the education we've been paying for?" asks one Chronicle reader.
Trouble is, dear reader, you're assuming that's the point.
How can it possibly be the point in Calvin Holland's case?