Scheduling the mayor’s time

As we pointed out in the previous post, “Everyone” does not agree, as asserted by New Paltz mayor Jason West, that the job of mayor is a fulltime position.

The mayor’s job is mainly a policy position and there’s not all that much policy to be made. Granted, the twice-monthly village board meetings (with a third meeting added some months back, Lord help us, as a “workshop“) can and do go on for the length of perfectly good evenings that might otherwise be productively devoted to reading or watching sports on television.

And we have no doubt at all that the mayor needs to keep office hours for, at the very outer limit, two days a week.

For all that work we agree that Mayor West earns his $25,000 annual part-time salary, and we also think that his real job and principal source of income, whatever that might be, should of course be his first priority.

Maybe West believes the mayor’s job is fulltime because he is not managing his tiime properly and has fallen victim to C. Northcoate Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands to the amount of time allotted for its completion.” The mayor could simply be allotting too much time to get his chores done and those chores are expanding to fill that time.

So, at the risk of presuming more than we could reasonably know about his job, we would like to take a crack at organizing the mayor’s schedule so that everything he really needs to do will get done in just two days. Let’s get right to it:

Day One:

8:00 a.m. to 8:05 a.m.: Telephone conversation with superintendant of public works to see if the mayor is needed for any purpose whatsoever with regard to public works. Unless a volcano has formed overnight and has erupted beneath the downtown traffic light the answer should be, “No, we pretty much fill the potholes and fix the water mains as a matter of routine, mayor.”

8:06 a.m. to 8:10 am: Telephone conversation with Chief Zappone to see if the mayor is needed that day for any law enforcement purpose. “No, not today, Mr. Mayor.”

8:11 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.: Using Post-Its, refer matters on mayor’s desk to various departments, boards, committees, and commissions for consideration and recommended action. Hand them to assistant.

8:31 a.m. to 8:35 a.m.: Download e-mail and delete spam.

8:36 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.: Respond to e-mail, if necessary. Print out any other incoming e-mail and attach Post-Its referring them to various departments, boards, committees, and commissions for consideration and recommended action. Hand them to assistant.

9:01 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.: Meet with Deputy Mayor Rotzler regarding the ongoing local Womyn’s crisis.

10:01 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.: Telephone conversation with village attorney regarding the legality of various proposals (for example, “Would it be legal, under the mayor’s executive powers, to nationalize the steel industry?”).

11:01 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.: Working lunch with town supervisor Toni Hokanson at The Bistro regarding the Moriello Pool bathhouse crisis. Note: Lunch is not officially over until Toni answers “No” when waitress asks her “Are you still working on that?”

2:01 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.: Regular lunch break at P&Gs.

3:01 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.: Early working dinner with Comrade Zierler at Bacchus regarding plan to nationalize the U.S. health care system.

Day Two:

8:00 a.m. to 8:25 a.m.: Weekly inspection of the sewage treatment plant off Huguenot Street.

8:26 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Weekly meeting with village business leaders to discuss the parking crisis.

9:31 a.m. to 9:35 a.m.: Weekly conversation with SUNY New Paltz President’s assistant regarding any need for mayor’s help in running the college.

9:36 a.m. to 9:40 a.m.: Weekly inspection of the New Paltz Firehouse.

9:41 a.m. to 10:55 a.m: Meeting with shade tree commissioner Osborn for briefing on various “at risk” maples, elms, oaks et al.

10:56 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.: Weekly meeting with village clerk to hear about the burdens of the job and offer therapeutic comments and commiseration.

11:16 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.: Weekly inspection of the DPW garage and solar panels. Note: take $10 from petty cash to give to one of the boys to run down to the Mobil station for a twelve pack.

11:46 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.: Working lunch with Trustee Dungan and New Paltz Times reporter Erin Quinn at The Bistro regarding changes they would like made in U.S. foreign policy.

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.: Regular lunch break at Biggy’s.

4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.: Early working dinner with community leaders at Barnaby’s to discuss wild dogs found sleeping in downtown alleyways.

So, there they are, two very tightly scheduled days, with all of the mayor’s vital tasks, we’re assuming, accounted for, including his most important role as charismatic visionary.

Granted, we have never seen the mayor’s detailed time sheets where he accounts for his workdays in ten-minute segments, so we don’t know how much air he really has allowed to slip, inadvertently we’re sure, into his schedule. But we will be happily corrected if we’ve made any uninformed assumptions about the nature of the job.

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