Friday, April 12, 2013

ZAP! #115: Up, Up and...WHAT?

ZAP! #115

     While we hate to admit it, sometimes (meaning: seldom, if at all) the CCR may not have hit the nail directly on the head.  And this could be the case with all the flack that previous reports have hurled, like a caged monkey, at the city manager and his grandstanding for the city’s “winning” the Malcolm Baldrige award.

     Today, we wish to issue a very insincere mea culpa for the heartburn and gastric indigestion we may have caused him and his mini-minions of believers: chamber of commerce cronies, Irving Issues PAC as an unpaid chamber mouthpiece, LULAC, sometimes paid issue-shills (think community activists), and any other Open Forum speaker attending a council meeting who sang Kumbaya while extolling the manager’s ability to not step on the stones when walking on water.

     And what, you might ask, is the reason for this change of effort to drive the nail into the board of reality with greater accuracy by the CCR?  Two reasons: Zombies and DC Comics.  We have finally seen the light that was being hid under the city manager’s basket!  Seeing this light explains the unexplainable council actions related to the mystique of the Baldrige award by those who have attempted to equate this award without mentioning specific job performance on several critical Irving issues addressed by the city manager.

     First, not every city can “win” a Baldrige award.  It takes money (thousands upon thousands upon thousands of tax payer bucks), a mind-melded staff and a keen writing ability to describe gruesome tasks like making sewer line flushing sound akin to creating ice carving sculptures.  However, with the use of Zombies and DC Comics, the city manager was able to soar over all the unsuspecting ‘low-information’ council members, tax payers, staff not sworn to fealty, and personnel associated with the Baldrige committee.

     Here’s how garnering the award would actually come to pass:

     Zombies:  The role of Zombies is critical to achieving Baldrige success and the city manager understood this.  Consultants, who were paid the equivalent of what the King of Bruni pays a limo driver, spent hours upon hours droning and pounding simplistic and scripted statements into the heads of all staff members.  While these sessions were essential to flush reason from doubting minds, they did take away from staff member’s regular routine...doing productive work.  However, after a few sessions, minds were bent, twisted and their grey matter started to turn into a gel similar to Zombie flesh.  Without even thinking, staff could spout the proper spin to any question that a Baldrige interviewer might ask.  And the questions to be asked would be extremely difficult: What is your mission statement?  Are you a 6-Sigma believer?  Can Utopia be reached through Baldrige paper work requirements?  Have you achieved Nirvana by filling out all the forms and paperwork assigned to you for this project?  Will you be sleeping with your Baldrige manual under your pillow?

     Of course, having staff regurgitate canned responses and smiling as if overdosed on Kool-Aid tends to produce the proper environment for Baldrige graders.  But this was not good enough.  The evaluators needed to be convinced that the city manger was ready to assume the ‘cape of pomposity’ that goes with the Baldrige award.  And this is where the city manager sealed the deal by reaching out to DC Comics.

     DC Comics:  After placing season ducats for Cowboys, Mavericks, Stars and Texas Rangers under the front door mat of the CEO of DC Comics, the city manager was granted a meeting.  In a meeting at the La Cima Club -- paid for by tax payers, of course, the city manager laid out his plan for a new DC comic entitled: “SuperManager.”  

     In this action thrilled comic, the city manager would, of course, star as SuperManager.  Dressed in a purple, full-body leotard made of kevlar with a large “SM” crest on the front, the manager explained how his new protective suit would make him employment-proof.  Not only would he not be subjected to job loss, but he would have “superpowers” that could: dodge media questions and scrutiny while encamped in his 4th floor super-cave plotting his next fluffy resumé filler; turn the old downtown development into a $51 million loss; use his super breath to extinguish the flames searing the ex-fire chief’s buns thereby allowing him to “write” grants while using his $161,000/year salary to purchase balm to sooth the burns; bury unaudited Entertainment Center cost in Jor-El’s secret fortress; place a cloak of invisibility around all the activities related to the Lubbock Mafia and chamber of commerce cronies; provide pails upon pails of budget bucks with the speed of a bullet to placate and garner super-support from firemen, council members and special interest concerns; use his laser beam eyesight to zap critical information on city issued BlackBerrys; and best of all, he would have his sidekick mini-minions (noted earlier) available to attend any council meeting when an issue of conflict -- not in tune with his new role as SuperManager -- would be listed on a city council agenda thereby causing the “SM” alert beacon to appear over the Irving sky. 

     Once the CEO of DC Comics realized that the city manager had made the entire city staff a walking troop of Zombies under his control and heard the proposal for this new super hero, he was sold.  Movie and merchandise contracts (t-shirts, realistic looking bobble head dolls, purple full-body leotards with the “SM” logo, etc.) were drawn and signed with crisp royalty checks mailed to supplement the city manager’s paltry $500,000 per year salary and benefit package.

     Conclusion:  So, dear readers, if you really wondered how the city of Irving garnered the Malcolm Baldrige award, this is what the Baldrige committee saw when they came to Irving for their review...Zombies and the city manager dressed in a purple, full-body leotard with “SM” emblazoned on the front.  And this is how the city manager was able to hoodwink the Baldrige review committee from Irving’s fiscal and personnel realities.  Of course, a little fine noshing at the LaCima Club or Four Seasons with a Kool-Aid fountain freely flowing might not have hurt, either. 

     Finally, this also explains why five ‘low-information’ council members managed to atrociously blunder when they recently extended the city manager’s contract to December 31, 2013.  The Frivolous Five* seemed to be too weak to overcome the city manager’s newly acquired super powers.
  And besides, the Frivolous Five didn’t know how to spell Kryptonite. 

*  The Frivolous Five for the record:  Cannaday, Santoscoy, Gallaway, Farris and Spink

SuperManager -- the Movie 
“See the Man of Many Illusions Thrash the Irving City Council into Docility” (Roger Ebert)

……………………..Mark Holbrook