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More Maywoods Please

Chalk up another Maywood resident who approves of this city’s unusual experience in municipal governing. City officials last month fired all of Maywood’s employees and outsourced their jobs.

While many communities are fearfully contemplating extensive cuts, Maywood says it is the first city in the nation in the current downturn to take an ax to everyone.

The school crossing guards were let go. Parking enforcement was contracted out, City Hall workers dismissed, street maintenance workers made redundant. The public safety duties of the Police Department were handed over to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

And the community is getting along just swimmingly.

One Response to “More Maywoods Please”

  1. Rod Wood says:

    Maywood certainly is bucking a trend.

    I used to be the publisher of my hometown weekly newspaper, and I’ve held elective office as a towship supervisor as well as appointed office on my township’s zoning hearing board, so I know a thing or two about local government in these parts, southeastern Pennsylvania.

    The trend has been toward more of everything governmental — more public land (open space and parks), more public employees, more ordinances and regulations — not just at the county, state and federal level, but at the local level.

    Much of this growth in government has been financed by the easy availability of Other People’s Money as, along with the real estate boom of the 00’s, the township has extorted millions of dollars from despised developers who need to pay the township bribes to get relief from unreasonable zoning and land development regulations.

    Most recently, the township squeezed T.H. Properties for $2.5 million for a new maintenance building and athletic fields at the township’s “Camelot Park” property. State and county grants added to the project made the tab for these entirely optional expenditures total $3.3 million. It is indeed a marvelous maintenance building, salt shed and three-field athletic complex. Meanwhile, THP has gone bankrupt, and it has taken legal action to complete the public improvements at their development. First things first!

    So this summer, when the economic outlook has been bleak, the supervisors decided to scale down their plans for a new pavilion at the park from $235,000 to $70,000. What’s a park without a pavilion, they say, and why should we worry about the lean years that may lie ahead?

    Which brings me back to your post on contracting out government to private contractors — if the township’s roads were maintained by, say, Haines and Kibblehouse (the company that does much work for the state and for private paving customers), would they even need a maintenance building in the township? Maybe they would think the township’s old maintenance building (a pretty fancy one to begin with) and salt shed (big enough for other area municipalities to store their salt, too) to be perfectly adequate, especially when the liquidation price of those facilities was only $300,000.

    As for the rest of the township’s professional administration, it’s anyone’s guess what the township manager does all day. They have about 50 checks to write per month, and they have to be on hand to dispense building permits, but it is not clear at all why one or two of the current secretaries could do all that.

    What’s more, the township has more than $3 million in liquid assets that are not needed for budgeted expenditures. How about selling the township’s land and buildings and endowing the township’s roads?

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