Friday, December 11, 2009

A tiger doesn't change its stripes - neither does a politician

Wow. It’s been several days now since I read Puck’s accounting of Councilman Sharp’s antics as reported at Tony’sKansasCity. Not that it took me that long to process what he was saying; but the it took me that long to realize somebody else has actually caught on to Mr. Sharp. Apparently, his activities at City Hall mirror his activities in Hickman Mills. For many employees in the administration center there, his three year tenure on the school board seemed like an eternity. From what I understand, things reached a point where anyone seeing him pull into the parking lot would spread the word and many then shut their office doors. He might tell you that people were supportive of him and his campaign for city council; but that was simply to get him out of the district. From what I’ve been told several actually feared for their jobs as long as he was on the Board. He actually completed the state mandated training sessions; but it somehow didn’t stick that a board member alone has no authority. I’ve heard stories that he was in the office of the Associate Superintendent for Business almost everyday – to the point that the Assoc. Super. couldn’t get his work done.

He talked the Board into forming a financial committee which reviewed district expenditures. Naturally, he got himself appointed chair because he thought he was so financially astute. Of course we all know what shape MAST was in when he left and now he doesn’t seem to care what happens to the City’s bond rating. As Chair of the Finance Committee he could make recommendations for expenditures. Since the district has been on a tight budget for several years, it had to dip into its reserves for big expenditures like weight room equipment. Now that he’s gone, the district is feeling the pinch of those dips and had to freeze salaries last year. Of course, like I said, he’s gone now.

Back when he was running for a seat on the school board, the district tried to consolidate schools. It was both a financially and educationally sound idea. Mr. Sharp didn’t like it, though, and was able to stir up the community in protest. For year’s Ruskin High School has held their graduation ceremonies at the Community of Christ auditorium in Independence. The year Mr. Sharp’s son was to graduate, the Ruskin administration wanted to hold the ceremony at the school in an effort to save money. Again, Mr. Sharp was able to stir up the community in protest.

Sometimes it’s just so much easier to put your own needs first and not worry about the dollars, especially when you don’t think of those dollars as your own. That’s what’s good about elective office. So many times when the fallout hits, the person responsible has moved on.