The Washington Monument syndrome, also known as the Mount Rushmore Syndrome, or the firemen first principle, is a term used to describe the phenomenon of government agencies in the United States cutting the most visible or appreciated service provided by the government when faced with budget cuts. It has been used in reference to cuts in popular services such as national parks and libraries or to valued public employees such as teachers and firefighters. This is done to put pressure on the public and lawmakers to rescind budget cuts. The term can also refer to claims by lawmakers that a proposed budget cut would hinder “essential” government services (firefighters, police, education, etc.). Although intended to highlight the government’s value to voters, it can also be aimed at lawmakers themselves.
A microcosm of the Deep State right here in NH: School Board tells Super what they tell him to do with his budget proposals (cut the budget). First, he ignores them and raises it. Told to correct it, he then “shafts” them. AGAIN. You’d think that the School Board would tell him, emphatically, that his jig (and gig) is up (emphasis mine, reformatted):
CLAREMONT — The Claremont School Board discussed $1.2 million in proposed cuts at its meeting Wednesday.
Board members had sparred with SAU 6 Superintendent Middleton McGoodwin at the Nov. 15 meeting at which McGoodwin presented the proposed 2018-19 budget with a $1.7 million increase over the current year when the board had asked to see $1.2 million in cuts from the current year. In a lengthy meeting Wednesday night McGoodwin presented board members with the budget side-by-side with the proposed spending of his originally proposed budget and board members went through each line item to ask questions about the cuts.
And the Washington Monument moment??? Sure, he cut $1.2M – but look how he did it:
One of the proposed cuts was $1 million in the technology budget, including the replacement of technology five years or older, including projectors and computers. “This is a removal of all technology funds,” director of technology Joshua Mulloy said to board members. “It’s basically a stripping of all tech equipment. This will make it pretty hard next year to support the students and the teachers in their classrooms.”
Eye, stick, smile. While the piece didn’t tell what the outcome was, it is clear that McGoodwin made it clear what he thinks of his employer(s):
McGoodwin clarified the administration is not recommending any of these cuts. “What we are listing here is not what we would want or recommend,” McGoodwin said. “It’s what we need to do to comply with your request. Please don’t look at this as our recommendation. So Brian, it’s not a good idea.”
The school board has set its sights on cutting current spending by $1.2 million in the next year so as to reduce the school portion of the property tax rate by an estimated $1.71 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
Good on the School Board for actively trying to make it better for taxpayers – not many SBs do that as most. But the GALL of McGoodwin for saying, in effect, “sure, this is the budget I prepped but I don’t recommend it. Want me to remove that Monument that I shoved up your backsides? Sorry about that.”. Sure thing, dude; now prep your resume.
Asked to remove $1.2M and he takes it out on an item that most “governing bodies” believe is important (known that it is important because PARENTS believe it is). I dunno, but to me, that’s the micro-Deep State telling its management what to do with itself. School Boards sometimes have the reputation of doing what the “professionals” tell them to do and not realizing that THEY are the employers and not the employees. These guys ought to get several spines and shaft him.
The board will resume budget talks when it meets Dec. 20.
I guess the story will continue later.