The term Czar certainly makes one think of the Obama administration and his record 22 Czars, we really do not think of local government when using the word Czar. This was in fact the case just last Fall when the city appointed Board of Health Director Dennis McBride as Milford's first Czar.
Some people think there is no place for Czar's in local government, and just as soon as the debate started it ended because McBride was not really costing the city any additional money to take on the job.
Well this is now changing, especially since our new "Land Use Manager/Director" is being installed as a full time position. The interim director Mr. Douglas M. Novak is being paid as much as the Mayor who appointed him, a whopping $95,000.00 per year to do the job of a Zoning Planning Board, wetlands commission, building department, Economic and Community Development Officer and the town Conservation Committee.
This position is interesting because just about every city agency reports to the Land Use Director, but who does the Land Use Director Report To? Certainly this sounds like all the attributes of a Czar, and if that is the case, as some believe, than this would in fact be Czar number Two in Milford.
The Obama presidency is certainly emblematic of this style of government, but for a Republican mayor to follow suit is enigmatic. Milford is unlike the woods of Weston where there is also a Land use Czar, Milford's demographics are much simpler, with a whole lot less nature. This new directors job has not really been specified in depth, and some are wondering how much time does it take to go from Eisenhower Park, to the woods along the river of the town Library and perhaps visit the few farms that are left in town. Sounds like another Napoleonic coffee drinking bueracrat in the taxpayers pocket.
The issues with our land use Czar go further, and some bloggers on the Internet are wondering why the mayor chose to hire him in the first place. The blogger argues that given the "high rate of local unemployment it should be mayor Richetelli's prerogative to go easy on the taxpayers."
Some bloggers feel that the exorbitant salary, combined with the fact that this job is purely a "cushy job" has been the root cause of what some want investigated as nepotism or perhaps worse cronyism.
The arguments appear to be gaining traction as well, because if you mention these issues to anyone in town and let them know the new Czar's salary, the job description and the fact that the person who got the job does not have to do much. Milfordites get upset and also feel that their interests are not being looked after.
Most people in Milford are struggling to pay their taxes, they are not understanding of these new Czars, nor do they want a continuation of the wasteful spending of the last decade. The spending during that period resulted in an unintentional punitive tax against Milford citizens, young, old and poor. Thankfully conservative Democrats reversed that trend this year, by overiding a proposed tax increse by the Republican administration but with those Democrats gone the "Money Spigot" is turned on "Full Blast" with few conservatives left to turn it off.
As the city continues to spend on wasteful Czars, and is thinking of new ways to yet again waste more money by cutting city services and education, Milford's citizens need to prepare themselves for the next fiscal crisis and double digit tax increases. The trend of wasteful spending is leading toward this inevitable reality.