One of the subjects upon which Mayor George Heartwell spills his sanctimonious logorrhea is "sustainability". Wonderful stuff this "sustainability". It's a great new idea the environmentalist crowd is pushing. They figure that if you only buy, use, and maintain the things you really need, then you won't consume resources getting things you really don't need. What a great way to save time, money, and trouble! Little wonder the mayor got the city commission to go along with him on Tuesday and hire Corky Overmyer to serve as the city government's new-fangled "sustainability manager".
Of course, there is nothing new about "sustainability". Indeed, "waste not, want not" is ancient wisdom, and it is the duty of EVERY public servant to conserve the dollars of taxpayers by making things run as efficiently as possible and last as long as possible. Thus, we already have a host of sustainability managers in the city government, namely the city manager, the city comptroller, the city commissioners, and the mayor. So it would seem that Corky's first task as the new sustainability manager would be to eliminate the unnecessary duplication and waste of his own $154,200-a-year job.
Well, I won't be holding my breath. Mayor Heartwell insists we need Corky for the job, because "The guy is that good." Hmm. During Corky's eleven-year tenure at the city government's environmental protection director he gave the Boardwalk developers the greenlight to dump twenty thousand tons of hazardous waste contaminated with lead, arsenic, and mercury on the grounds of an old city property, the Monroe Avenue water filtration plant, located in a Creston Heights residential neighborhood. No doubt Corky claims ignorance of what the waste contained, but that inspires little confidence especially because city procedure mandated testing the material before its disposal at the filtration plant. But that never happened under Corky's watch.
In fact, to make sure the liquid run-off from the waste migrated onto neighboring properties, into the groundwater, and out to the nearby Grand River without a problem, Corky instructed the Boardwalk developers to punch holes through the bottoms of the filtration plant's concrete tanks they were dumping the hazardous material into. I suppose that was one good (well, dirt cheap) way to make all that lead, arsenic, and mercury go away (or at least make it someone else's problem rather than the developers' and the City's). Let nature spread the stuff around. A rather sustainable solution, if you ask me. At least until the court orders the taxpayers to pay for the clean-up. Expect more such "sustainability".
Now some of you might be thinking that because the city government has contracted for Corky through his employer, Earth Tech Inc., the fellow will be under supervision as he manages our sustainability for us. Unfortunately, like Corky, Earth Tech doesn't inspire a lot of confidence when it is working on the taxpayer's dime. Go talk to the folks out in Grattan Township who have had the pleasure of Earth Tech managing their sewer system -- and repeatedly spilling raw sewage into their lakes, including Murray Lake. They've been cleaning up Earth Tech's messes for over a year now.
So, with Heartwell, Corky, and Earth Tech, I'd say that's three strikes and "sustainability" is out. And it will be, folks, just like all the fads the city government plays with to avoid seriously dealing with any problems. Remember last year's enamorment with "lean management"? Of course, we'll let Corky flush several hundred thousand dollars of taxpayer money down this new rathole first before this current nonsense has been played out.