Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard sits in his office drinking a supersized, diet Mountain Dew while reading over a stack of papers. Two advisors lurk over him, one holding the Mayor's Quarterpounder and the other holding his supersized order of fries.
Mayor: I tell you, boys, the Corps was a lot easier. Semper Fi! (SLURP!) See, back then, people would tell me what to do, and I was a whiz following their notions and whatnot. I was an implementer, not an idealator. But now I've got to figure things out all the time. I haven't had a lot of practice at that. (SLURP!)
Advisor 1 (emphatically): We know!
Mayor: 'Member when I let Senator Kenley try to solve our CIB problems with some of these so-called "ideas" while I hid under my desk? He shore got beat like a rented mule. That plan got blown up like a watermelon in Dan Burton's back yard! And 'member when I thought it was a good idea to let my donor buddy at the country club have an IMPD squad car? Look what that got me! An ethics complaint! Ideas are dangerous, so it's best not to have any. That's why I'm glad you guys invented all those Requests for Proposals, Requests for Information, and Requests for Ideas!
Advisor 2: Well, we didn't create Requests for Prop...
Mayor: They're awesome! (SLURP!) Like, you know how we still don't know what to do with the CIB, so we just said, "Here ya go, private sector boys! Tell us what you'd do, and maybe we'll let ya!" Know how we've got a City Market as productive as a Steve Buyer scholarship fund? If it weren't for consultants, private sector input, and that Board, I'd have to come up with an idea. And remember when I didn't have any ideas for neighborhood-based, crime-fighting strategies for our police, so we just privatized it by cutting some checks to neighborhood groups and ministers and telling them to use the money for idea-lizing the crime problem?
Advisor 1 (rolls eyes): Mr. Mayor, we're getting roasted on violent crime!
Mayor: Homicides are lower than ever, at least that's what somebody on Abdul in the Morning said I should be saying.
Advisor 2: We should tell people to take solace that they're only getting robbed and shot but not killed?
Mayor: That's right, they need to know that they probably won't die under my administration...because Wishard does such a great job. Good thing we're getting a new hospital. That right there....that's another good idea that I had nothing to do with. (SLURP!) See how awesome it is when you don't have ideas? You can jump on at the very end and have everybody treat you like the hero!
Advisor 1: Mr. Mayor, this is all fascinating, but we need to focus. We still have a budget shortfall, and you pledged a ten percent across-the-board cut, so we're going to have to come up with another idea for making or saving some money. We need ideas.
Mayor: Didn't you ever read Shakespeare, son?!? Remember Julius "Dr. J." Caesar? Remember when the seer warned, "Fear the Ideas of March?"
Advisor 2: Mr. Mayor, that was the Ides of M...
Mayor: Whoo hoo!!! I've got it, boys! Privatizing and selling assets is so cool, let's issue an RFP to see what ideas the private sector can come up with for my office. I bet if we talked to IBM, they might be able to figure out ways to do what I do better than I'm doing it now. I bet we could get them for a song, too, 'cause I heard they're looking for government work. Maybe if there wasn't a mayor's office here, we could do something really cool with it, like having a little Chinatown on the 25th floor with fortune cookies that read "Help! I'm trapped in a government bureaucracy!" Ha ha ha! Boy, I tell you, that'd be awesome. (SLURP!)
Advisor 2: I'm sorry, are you saying you want to privatize your entire office?
Mayor: Why not? I'm not using it all that much, am I?
Sunday, November 15, 2009