Thursday, April 16, 2009

C.I.T.Y. and the Fair Dismissal Act

The Fair Dismissal Act--now there's a name that fairly screams George Orwell's 1984. Now, 60 soon-to-be former employees of the Community Intensive Training for Youth program are invoking this law in a quest to retain their jobs. The problem is that by demanding to be paid while their dispute is in arbitration, they have forced their one-time employer to close its doors, resulting in the loss of 30 more positions.

According to system Chancellor Bradley Byrne, the financial burden of providing salaries for these employees past their official dismissal date of May 1 will deplete C.I.T.Y. funds by the end of June, when the highly controversial organization will cease to exist. C.I.T.Y runs programs in both Florence and Russellville; the one in Florence having been the personal pet of Lauderdale Circuit Court Judge Jimmy Sandlin.

While the original intent of the C.I.T.Y. program was admirable, it unfortunately became associated with State Rep. Sue Schmitz, good ol' boy politics, and unfettered spending. Those who believe in financial accountability for government can rejoice at the demise of this tax dollar vortex; however, one has to wonder how such a well-intentioned program morphed into oinking pork. Yes, pork, and we understand that in at least one location it did wear lipstick.

What's up with this: What Shoals county government employee was recently referred to as Loni Anderson in the Courthouse Forum? Well, there is some resemblance to WKRP in most county offices.