Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

At least he’s not picking out new china patterns for City Hall


Jessica McBride has a bit of sticker shock when it came to the re-painting of the mayor’s office:

If you were elected the mayor of the city of Waukesha, what would be first on your agenda?

I can tell you what wouldn’t be tops on mine: Painting my own office for thousands of dollars.

The Freeman reports that new Mayor Jeff Scrima just paid an outside company $4,000 out of the city maintenance budget to paint three rooms of his office at City Hall. Apparently, he didn’t like Carol Opel’s old floral wallpaper.

Um, Mayor Scrima – a couple questions. One, why is this a priority? Two, why couldn’t the city maintenance workers just paint it? Three, why couldn’t you paint it? (Yeah, I know it’s not his job. But that would have made an interesting symbolic point to taxpayers.)

For that matter, it costs $4,000 to paint three rooms? Wow, I should start a painting company. Mayor Scrima, next time you need your office painted, I am willing to do it for 500 bucks plus the cost of the paint. Contact me through The Freeman. Or just send me a message on Facebook (if you ever confirm my long languishing friend request).

I admit that the mayor’s office needs routine upkeep, but this bill sounds excessive. (The work also included the removal of wooden moldings and wallpaper). Opel’s floral wallpaper had been around since 1998, at least. I doubt the granny style matched Scrima’s taste, and I am not arguing that this is the biggest issue of all time. But these things are symbolic.

$4,000 to paint three rooms? Please.

Good for City Administrator Lori Luther, who rejected a request to paint her office. Scrima approached her about having her office painted too. So he has that much time on his hands? Not only is he worried about painting his own office, but he’s worried about Luther’s office paint now too? To her credit, Luther declined, saying, “it’s fine the way it is.”

Scrima defended the painting of his own offices to The Freeman by saying it looked “dated” and “drab.” It probably did. So, live with it! Scrima wants other areas of City Hall painted now too but, now that the Freeman has latched onto the issue, he says he’s going to enlist volunteers to do it. He might have enlisted volunteers to paint his office in the first place.

By the way, he’s never going to confirm my friend request now. Mayor Scrima: It was fine the way it was.

I would have suggested Scrima ask the “smart people” he relies upon for advice, but he recently told the Waukesha Freeman he doesn’t know any smart people. Never mind that he told an entire audience at a candidate forum about these “smart people.” Never mind he told Charlie Sykes and his entire radio audience about the “smart people.” Never mind he identified his brother-in-law as one of the “smart people.”

“I think it is really funny that you are making an issue about that because the people I get my advice from are ordinary Waukesha citizens,” Scrima said.

Scrima added he listens to and absorbs information from everyone he is in contact with, whether it be at Freeman Friday Night Live or at a local coffee shop.

“I find it amusing that you are trying to find a story in something that is really no story,” Scrima said.

I’m going to be responding at length to my critics who think I’m being unfair to the mayor, but the one thing that has struck me about Scrima is how nothing is his fault. Nothing he says is ever supposed to matter. When he’s asked directly about something he said or did that he now regrets, he says it’s not a story. If we cannot measure the man seriously by what he does, and we cannot measure the man seriously by what he says, then how shall we measure the man?

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