December 7, 2010

Positions: One Per Resident

Justin Katz

My column this week takes up a minor local controversy over residents' holding multiple town positions, in light of the relevance to local politics to larger political battles:

The potential for conflicts of interest and corruption is remote between the school district and oyster farming; it is less so between those who draft the school and municipal budgets and a committee addressing the method by which those budgets are approved. However obscure these specific instances may be, the principle that transforms minor town hall expectorations into webs of state and national intrigue is easy to see: The people invest every office, council, committee, board, panel, and subcommittee with a certain amount of its collective power. Factions inevitably labor to collect enough of them to achieve their ends, and the competition can, itself, be healthy...provided they must find enough politically palatable members that each need only hold one government position at a time.
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Appealing the RI Right to Work legislation will be a stiff challenge. It is necessary if RI is ever to recruit industry and provide opportunity for the work force. The RI economy needs to produce something other than self perpetuating government workers.

Posted by: Michael L. So ar es at December 9, 2010 7:42 PM
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