Saturday, December 10th, 2016

If the three Kings can make it to Christmas, why can’t the mayor?

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As reported in the Waukesha Freeman the other day (and teased in my Waukesha Freeman column), Mayor Jeff Scrima will again miss the city of Waukesha Christmas Parade. The parade is the biggest civic event of the year. It’s bigger than Freeman Friday Night Live. It’s bigger than GuitarTown (which really wasn’t that big, it turned out). It’s bigger than a protest organized by Police Chief Russell Jack.

Scrima has again said “family obligations” are preventing his attendance. I think it’s a miracle that the mayor is pregnant, albeit a little scandalous since he is unmarried. However, even “in a family way,” the mayor could just ride in a car and wave.

Scrima defender Dave Mickler, tired of seeing the mayor “picked on,” defends the mayor in a letter to the editor by pointing out that it’s hunting season, as if nobody reading the Waukesha Freeman is aware of that. However, there is not one point in Wisconsin that is so inaccessible that Scrima could not break camp Sunday morning and still return in time to fulfill his responsibilities as a civic leader.

If hunting is the “family obligation,” then Scrima can certainly compromise and fulfill both obligations. It’s not like the schedule for the Christmas Parade isn’t known a year in advance. He should be able to schedule his personal calendar accordingly.

After all, the city was very generous to him this year. This “servant leader” (as he likes to call himself) can demonstrate a little gratitude by remembering that with the honor and the respect of the office (as well as the financial and educational perks) also comes ceremonial requirements. For all that he has done to tarnish the office’s reputation, the mayor is still the civic leader of our city. It’s his responsibility to behave accordingly.

Saying that the downtown alderman Roger Patton will be there does not excuse Scrima’s absence. Setting aside that Patton is unfit for the office he holds, the downtown Christmas Parade belongs to the entire city, not just the downtown. The downtown is not just a subdivision that one of the mayor’s family friends developed but the heart of the city belonging to the entire community.

The largest civic event commands the attendance and attention of the civic leader elected to represent all of us, even if Scrima is so bad at it. If Scrima does not want to fulfill the basic responsibilities of being a civic leader, he can always find a different line of work.

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