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Can I be Your Boss?


February 19, 2012 by Steve Winkler

If you’ve lived in West Fork long enough to have had any dealings with city hall, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the long-standing GAB Policy (Go Ask “Butch”). For decades, Mr. Bartholomew has been the go-to-guy for permission, advice and favors covering the full range of city services.

A few months after the citizens elected the reform-minded Frances Hime as mayor, she removed his Business Manager title. But Mr. “B” is the darling of the council and they have gradually been restoring his domain.

His influence in the lot split process was returned a few months ago. Then at the January council meeting, during a discussion of a school groups request to use the city’s marquee in front of city hall (aka hillbilly website), the council designated Mr. B to be the guardian of the marquee message. OK, it’s a small thing.

Then while trying to understand the process for recruiting and selecting volunteer citizens to fill the four vacant positions on city commissions I became aware that there is no application form to be filled out.

So, how does one apply for one of the openings on the Planning or Water Commission? You guessed it Go Ask Butch.
Keep in mind that Utility Superintend ” Butch” oversees the most mismanaged department in the city and is accountable to the Water Commission which has had a vacant position for seven months.

Call me cynical, call me suspicious, but does it make sense to forgo a written application process for filling commission vacancies? Without documentation a citizen is expected to go ask the person whose work they will be overseeing to be their boss … and there is no record of the encounter.

Those pointy-headed scholars who study organizational theory and behavior call this “structural corruption.”

I just call it corruption.

Steve Winkler

Steve Winkler is the publisher and editor of the Observer. Email him at

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