We are awarding our maximum number of Yo-Yo's to Abbeville's mayor and members of the City Council, for their actions back in May. In the middle of the worst recession since the Dust Bowl Days, and shortly after being sworn in, the City Council, all incumbents in the previous election, voted for pay raises for the entire council and for the mayor as well. According to an article in the Abbeville Meridional, the council members' pay was increased by $400.00 per month and the mayor's pay was increased by $13,000 per year. The salaries of each councilmen will be $1,200 per month, with Mayor Mark Piazza’s salary jumping from $54,000 to $67,000 per year. Sources tell us that the council had originally planned a $400.00 per month raise for both themselves and the mayor. The mayor then suggested that his raise should be more because his position is a full time job. The councilmen, whose jobs are part-time, went along with the mayor's request.
One person questioned about the pay raise, said, "What looks so bad is that we waited until after the election to decide to give this raise. It stinks to high Heaven. It should have been done before." This is assuming that this person meant for the decision to have been made before the election. Had that been the case, probably few of the city officials would have been re-elected.
The council members are provided with very generous health-care insurance benefits in addition to their salary. They are now being paid $1,200 per month to attend a few meetings each month. If they serve on the council for several years, their health insurance benefits are paid for the rest of their lives. Don't we all wish we had jobs like that. Meanwhile, the Police Jury's elected officials who run Vermilion parish, receive no health care benefits, have a smaller salary, and they handle a budget which makes the city budget seem like the mouse climbing the elephant's leg with sex on his mind.
Now, these same councilmen and mayor who have been managing the city budget, find themselves in a financial bind. A recent article in the Abbeville Meridional stated that the the projected revenue shortfall is just short of a half million dollars. The councilmen are now trying to put a pretty face on the problem at hand. They are scrambling to come up with a way to change the color of this picture from red to black, and as yet have no solution. Ideas being tossed around include cutting services and/or raising electricity rates. Francis Touchet seems to suggest that they wait to see if future sales taxes in the city produce enough revenue to cover this shortfall in the future. The ambulance chaser, Francis Plaisance, with ambitions to run for any public office available, doesn't want to cut services at a time when he thinks he has a chance to become the next mayor. The mayor has been doing a pretty good job for the city. We have to hope he stays long enough to prevent Plaisance from becoming our next mayor.
The cast members of the Abbeville City Council all sound like Ignatius J. Reilly, the main character in John Kennedy Toole's book A Confederacy of Dunces. Walker Percy in the foreword to the book, describes Ignatius as a "slob extraordinary, a mad Oliver Hardy, a fat Don Quixote, a perverse Thomas Aquinas rolled into one."
It's past time to get rid of these bums. Unfortunately, the next election for these Yo-Yo's is too far away.