First, a gaggle of tired but angry prison guards filed in. They've been forced to do a lot of mandatory overtime lately because the rocket scientists who demanded a prison expansion never bothered to ask for the additional staff that would be needed. When corrections officers and their union rep saw there were neither lights nor air conditioning, they started getting ugly. (I think some of them had rope).
Then came Bethlehem City and LVIP officials, all wearing very nice suits. Most of them used cell phones and laser teeth whitened smiles to light their way. Bethlehem Mayor Callahan used his highly polished shoes to reflect just enough dim light to find a seat. The suits were there to convince Northampton County Council that, even though the judges' Taj Mahal is at least $3 million over budget, the county should still give Bethlehem an additional $2 million for another road. Makes sense to me.
But neither of these powerful groups could make the lights go on. No matter how much the prison guards growled or the Bethlehem suits smiled, we remained in total darkness, where some bastard picked my pocket. I won't point fingers, but Councilman Ron Angle kept laughing at me.
We were all getting ready to leave when Council President Wayne Grube walked in, raised his arms, and said "Ladies and Gentlemen." Suddenly there was light. Holy cannoli!
Everyone knows Grube thinks he's God, but I never believed it until tonight. I'm in big trouble. I've named him as a Defendant about fifty times in county lawsuits. Now I know why these dudes in long robes pop up everywhere I go. Hey, I thought they were KKK recruiters. Uh oh. It also explains the flat tires on my jeep and bike. That's OK. I'll go to confession this weekend. Two or three Hail Marys and I'll be as pure as Glenn Reibman.
I'll tell you about county council and our new courthouse next week, but don't want the week to end without mentioning Lamont McClure. Remember Lamont? He's the fellow who threatened a libel lawsuit when I had the nerve to point out a Sunshine Act violation. And just two weeks ago, he voted to increase the DA's budget even though his wife works there.
Well, tonight, when prison guards started complaining about the safety issues that can arise when they are forced to work sixteen hours per day for three days in a row, Prez Grube (aka God) didn't want to hear it because these guards are also union members with a union contract. Grube was justifiably concerned that a Council member might say something that could haunt the county in labor negotiations. Fair enough. But corrections officers and any citizen has the right, under our Sunshine Act, to address council on matters of public concern. The guards left in a huff, and probably are burning someone in effigy as I write this piece.
To his credit, McClure asked Grube, "Can't we just listen?" That's exactly what the Sunshine Act requires. It also happens to be the right thing to do, especially when public safety is involved, to say nothing of employee morale. I never thought I'd say this, but you were absolutely right, Lamont. Now excuse me. I think I'm going to be sick.