banner james carlini - Carlini's CornerBy James Carlini

A pragmatic, visionary perspective —–

With a proposed $500 Million tax hike aimed at trying to shore up a sinking budget, maybe Chicago leaders need to start thinking more about lightening up their load and cutting their budget by making some tough decisions, instead of raising taxes on soft drinks and property taxes.

My advice to them, start thinking you’re on a lifeboat. You need to get rid of deadweight and those just eating up the supplies without helping to row to a point of safety.

A little different mindset is needed when you need to survive. Would you still keep all the deadwood on board and those just eating crackers and water as if they were at Golden Corral?

The City That Works. Well, used to work.

The City That Works. Well, used to work.

Then again, on a City of Chicago lifeboat, you’d have two oarsmen (one Port, one Starboard), four supervisors, four assistant directors, four Directors of Oars, one lookout, four assistant lookouts, two deputy assistant lookouts, four Helmsman, four assistant Helmsmen, three assistant Director Helmsmen and their staffs of four each, four Deputy Director Helmsmen, and one Director of Helmsmen and Rations, one Chief of Rations, four assistant Chief of Rations, and one water-boy, who actually hands out the rations and water.

Right there that’s 55 people with only two people rowing the oars. Now add the ten deadwood people who think they are on a Carnival Cruise all day and eating up the supplies like there is no tomorrow.

65 people with two people rowing the oars. Start to get the picture?

Now the boat springs a leak. Who needs to man the pump to keep the water from sinking the boat?

Wait, there are no pumpsmen or assistant pumpsmen on board and those in other jobs say, “Hey, not me, I’m a supervisor.” or “I’m not trained in that, plus my union restricts me from doing other work.”

So no one mans the pumps. The boat gets heavier and heavier as everyone mills around saying, “It’s not MY job“, while others ask, “Hey where are some more crackers?” and the two oarsmen finally collapse out of exhaustion.

ALL the Directors, supervisors and their assistants can’t believe the boat is not going anywhere and they are getting lower in the water. “Hey, where are more crackers?” can be heard in the distance.


The City that Works has turned into the City that’s Sinking.

It’s a sad story, but how many other “lifeboats” are out there in the ocean of cities and suburbs with the exact same crew and attitude?

Chicago does not need 50 Aldermen.  20 would do fine and would be more in line with the City Council numbers based on population in New York City and Los Angeles. They also don’t need 18 Deputy Chiefs on the Chicago Police Department.  Cutting all these jobs and their associated budgets won’t affect services, but it will cut the costly “bureaucratic bloat” associated with running the city.

Cut spending and consolidate staffs. Services can be saved and no tax hike is necessary.

Start thinking in the 21st century instead of relying on raising the already maxed-out horse-and-buggy taxes from the 19th century.


Carlini will be speaking about new ideas in regional economic development at the upcoming Illinois Municipal League Conference at the Chicago Hilton on September 19th.

Copyright 2014 - James Carlini - All rights reserved

Copyright 2014 – James Carlini – All rights reserved

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Copyright 2015 – James Carlini


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