Saturday, February 18, 2006

Quinn Purge

The Friday night massacre at the City Council was to be expected. This is the nature of the spoils system and in many ways is preferable to the lifetime tenure of a civil service bureaucracy. Inevitably there will be a number of good people who are let go and a number of numbskulls who are retained.

The democratic nature of the periodic purging is that it allows the new leadership to put their own people in place and set their own agenda. The real criticism should begin after this process is completed and the direction of an administration or legislature is made clear.

From our perspective, and given the early moves that have been displayed, we are concerned that the new speaker has lost touch with her neighborhood roots and has become enmeshed within the concatenation of special interests that have traditionally toyed with the Council.

Whether this comes to totally characterize her tenure remains to be seen and we're hopeful the situation evolves sufficiently to create the appropriate balance that is necessary to good government. What will be particularly important to see is how Quinn cultivates the kind of institutional integrity that will allow the Council to perform its vital role in a democratic system of checks and balances.