It's rare to see the clear results of unethical behavior in local
government. Sadly, exceptionally clear results can be seen in a front-page
in today's New York Times.
Jefferson County, Alabama, the home of Birmingham, had a serious
scandal involving sewer repairs and bonds, which I wrote about
(billions were borrowed and heavily risked; effectively the county
played investment bank). More than twenty people have been convicted in
the sewer scandal. The president of the county commission, now mayor of
Birmingham, was arrested a year and a half ago, but has not yet gone to
Today, for county employees, the unethical behavior hits the fan. Two-thirds of
those eligible for layoffs, up to 1,400 employees, are to be
laid off today. This includes about 400 of the 488 county employees
doing road and bridge repair; 75% of the probate court staff; the
juvenile detention center's entire cafeteria staff.