The merit system has always been an effective strategem for getting desired results. Children are rewarded by their elders for good behavior. Honors and scholarships are won by students for achieving excellent grades. Productive employees are given pay increases. Recognition and recompense are the universal prizes for proven performers.
This is not the case, however, in the office of the comptroller for the City of Buffalo. In what can only be seen as a callous disregard for taxpayers, the recently elected person designated to closely monitor the disbursement of tax-generated revenues has presented certain members of his staff with substantial salary increases, not after but before they have demonstrated their competence.
As one who has a strong attachment for a city still revered by so many, I find it discouraging that a loud public outcry over this astonishing display of arrogance has yet to be heard.
It really isn't difficult to understand why there is growing cynicism across this land, when persons who have little if any skills in managing the affairs of government can be elected and so often re-elected. One can read almost daily reports of budget overruns, deficits, bungled public projects, cronyism and a deepening hostility between opposing factions at a time when harmony and cooperation are needed as never before.
There is, however, another factor that must be considered -- the electorate, the mass of voters that determine who comes in and who goes out of public office. It is voters who, in the final analysis, are responsible for the inadequacy and mediocrity of persons in key positions today.
What is presently occurring in the Buffalo comptroller's office, the Buffalo School District and the Erie County Water Authority provides a sorry example of an apathetic populace resigned to settle for what is rapidly becoming a deteriorating stewardship of public affairs.
A long time ago, a very wise man said: "People will always get the government they deserve."
THOMAS L. TRABERT SR.