It’s time to change our amateur ways

Among a certain set, New Year’s Eve is disparagingly referred to as “Amateur Night” because of the immature nature of some peoples’ actions during the evening. Veterans of the party scene do their best to avoid contact with these types, understanding simply being in their presence does nothing but drag them down to that undesired level.
In a certain sense, we here in East Providence have experienced our own kind of Amateur Night, though unfortunately it hasn’t been just one evening of discomfort and disillusionment.
No, it’s actually been almost a decade’s-worth of contending with politicians and administrators, who on most Tuesday nights at City Hall have been in over their heads when it came to discerning the problems the city faced and how to go about solving those intricate issues.
As we turn the page to yet another year, East Providence is slowly pulling itself up from its fiscal failings. We are doing so under the thumb of state over-seers to the displeasure of a vocal choir, who has never been able to accept or understand the reasons why we needed outside authorities to tackle the situation. Attempting to explain those reasons to those people has been a futile exercise. There’s no use trying again.
It should be noted, however, some of those very same people who weren’t able to grasp the extent of our issues have recently been elected to positions of authority within city government.
They are already trying to deal with many of the same issues the same whimsical, naive and far-fetched approaches. They are already attempting to undermine parts of the Budget Commission’s plan currently in place and that what has been charted for the short-term future.
Many critics of state over-sight point to problems with how the legislation was written in the General Assembly, the seeming lack of controls on the Commission as well as the inability of residents’ voices to be heard. Those things actually have some merit.
It’s true we, the people, did not elect the Budget Commission. But we, the people, did elect those politicians who preceded it, who put us into this precarious position in the first place. We in East Providence have no one to blame but ourselves. We continued to make rookie mistakes by hiring rank amateurs to handle professional-grade problems.
With that in mind, let’s resolve to change our ways in 2013.
Happy New Year.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.