Wow, did Mayor ..., er, City Manager Alvin Parks ever move fast to deal with East St. Louis budget issues. Eight cops are gone, and if he has his way, 17 firefighters will be next.
By our math, the city that in many years has logged the highest per capita murder rate in the nation will be left with 10 officers on the street at a time, if no one takes vacation or gets sick or gets hurt on the job. There will be about seven firefighters per shift, depending on how the union talks go.
East St. Louis has nearly 200 employees. It is interesting that Parks would target the most basic function of city government, keeping people safe, and only look at six other layoffs out of roughly 70 other positions. It is almost as if he were trying to foment a public outcry, because people rightfully get angry when you take away their police and fire protection — not so much when there is one less guy to fill potholes.
It is also intriguing that Parks made these moves without talking to the woman who defeated him in the election, Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks, or getting the police union involved or other city administrators. It is also curious that he moved so fast when he’d had only two weeks on the job to assess the proper cuts, and when the $5.7 million deficit grew out of years of fiscal mismanagement.
And who was mayor during those years of fiscal mismanagement? Gee, isn’t the answer Alvin “The Flash” Parks?