What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander

June 6, 2007 22 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Disclaimer: We regret that some of our viewers are having trouble distinguishing a purely informational article from a factual-based opinion. For those viewers, we'd like to take the opportunity to make it clear that this particular article is of the Opinion variety. Now let us begin...With all the recent rhetoric from the mayor's office about how much the quality of life will be diminished if the state legislators cut our property taxes, the mayor has yet to cut the job of anyone significant from his own staff.

We've seen no leadership in the area of making sacrifices from Peyton.  While the mayor has asked all department heads to make cutbacks (eliminate jobs and/or reduce salaries), no such actions have been forced upon the the department heads themselves or the "key people" of the mayor's administration.  "Key people" would include the mayor himself, his "spokesperson" Susie Wiles, "chief of policy" Adam Hollingsworth, and quite a few others. 

Yes, there was Parks Director John Culbreth, but he was an outsider from Fulton County, Georgia - located very far outside of the Good Old Boy network.  So, the GOB network remains very intact.  

Does this sound right to you?  Revisiting the Brad Thoburn scandal.

As we talk about these times of tightening purse strings, let us turn our attention to a related, more specific, situation.  You may remember the appointment (some call it an anointment) of Brad Thoburn as Planning Director of the city.  You'll recall that Brad had a degree in political science and a ton of political experience (his supporters loved to brag of his work under Tillie Fowler), but really almost zero planning experience and absolutely no planning education.  Those were the negatives.  But what Brad had going for him were:

1) A tight relationship with the mayor.
2) A vigorous Good Ole Boy network in a truly southern city.

Thus it came about that the mayor and the obligatory City Council of Jacksonville installed Thoburn as the Planning Director.  And as we turn our attention back to monetary matters, we ask what kind of raise did Thoburn receive?  

Well, prior to his lofty promotion, Thoburn was making $96,000 - a decent living by any working man's standards.  A recent, surprisingly difficult (it took 5 days to get the accurate figures) public records request from Susie Wiles revealed Thoburn's new salary as $115,000 - a whopping 20% increase!  Here's to the "uniquely qualified" wonder boy!

What lesson have we learned from the Brad Thoburn anointment? If you are thinking about pursuing a career in urban planning, keep the following in mind:

A UNF bachelors degree in Urban Planning?   $20,000

Ten years of planning experience?   20,800 hours of labor

Being plugged into the Jacksonville GOB network?  Priceless.