Send the State to the Dump and Rebuild
Some explanation may lie with the crappy discount coffee that I bought in a pinch at CVS, Friday night. I’d forgotten to pick up my usual brew on the way home, and because the cold snap and the replacement of heavy winter socks in my work-clothes dresser bring the threat of rapid defeat in my battle against athlete’s foot, I was headed to the pharmacy, anyway. Difficulty walking comes at a steep price, for a carpenter, so financial considerations no longer justify forgoing the weapon of prescription cream, as I have for some months. In other words, since I was splurging for medicine, I thought to compensate by scrimping on addiction.
A mild bug may also be to blame, but inasmuch as I’ve no other symptoms of illness, the bad-tasting coffee certainly comes under suspicion for my feeling of mild disorientation — as if I’d spent the previous night drinking alcohol in an amount just shy of that which produces a hangover.
Some explanation must also derive from this week’s payment of the bills, or (more accurately) non-payment of the bills. It looks like some additional conveniences, such as cell-phone Internet access, will have to give way, this week, blog-efforts notwithstanding. The mortgage payment hovers just out of reach, and the fact that it’s missed the arbitrary deadline means that roughly three hours of my hard-earned pay will evaporate in fees again this month. Fortunately, I’ve a jar full of pennies from which to draw resources for a stamp to send an obligatory auto insurance payment.
Which all contributes to my utter lack of sympathy for anybody associated with the story of Nathan Hannon, who, by Mike Stanton’s telling in the Providence Journal, is another dirt-bag who’s been bilking the state by not doing the work that he’d claimed to be doing as (get this) a $45,000-per-year “education coordinator” for the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation. He was a teacher at the dump, who appears to have taken credit for off-site educational presentations that never happened:
Of 27 instances in which Hannon filed paperwork for mileage reimbursement, The Journal could only confirm three trips: he went to the Blackstone Valley Charter School in June and West Warwick High School in July and dropped off educational materials to a woman affiliated with the South Providence Youth Ministries in June.
But he didn’t go to the South Providence Youth Ministries for presentations in July and August, as he reported, officials there say. Those were among at least 17 appointments that people say didn’t happen. At the remaining seven places, two could not be reached and the others said they could not confirm or did not recall his visiting.
What Hannon might have done to accumulate the mileage for which he submitted reimbursement claims is an open question. Perhaps his significant other, “former [RI] senator and top Senate aide who is now a Rhode Island traffic-court judge” David Cruise has some idea. (According to the judiciary’s Web site, by the way, Cruise’s actual title is “administrative magistrate,” which means that his path to a six-figure job in the judiciary was different than that taken by a judge; then– Chief Justice Frank “Chiefy” Williams nominated the lifelong political actor to the court, and the Senate confirmed him.) Perhaps Senate Majority Leader Daniel Connors — who walked a mile and a half to the home of Hannon and Cruise after crashing his brother’s car in the middle of the night after a fundraiser, back in 2004 — could make inquiry now that his schedule is clear of the string-pulling that he appears to have been doing behind the scenes to ensure that Hannon is eligible for unemployment payments.
What is less and less in question is whether it’s worthwhile for residents to continue supporting a government structure that makes of the state a playground for political insiders. Somehow, our discount-brand representatives leave the rest of us feeling disoriented and hung over while they pass around the cup of patronage.
When the state gets around to hiring another garbage education director, we can ask him or her whether it’s possible to recycle that which is thoroughly rotten, but it seems to me that we should just throw the government in the trash and start from scratch.