Brockport residents are taking a crash course in dissolution. But they are going to have to take the final exam on the first day of class, before they have a chance to study, and before they even find out the name of the textbook.
Talk about having the cart before the horse.
What are the odds of failing that test? 100%.
It should be obvious that it is a good idea to plan what you need to do first, and then try to do it. Some people are lucky enough to learn the importance of planning early in life. But others, including the group of people trying to dissolve the Village of Brockport, never seem to have learned that lesson at all.
During the Vietnam War, a group of young Lieutenants assigned to the 3539th Navigator Training Squadron (3539 NTS) at Mather Air Force Base, California gathered in a large mission planning room.
They were there for a mission planning session before flying a check flight, a flight that would determine if they would become aviators or get washed out of the program. Virtually all of them were headed for Vietnam.*
The instructor scheduled to lead the planning session was a senior Captain, who had the reputation of being hard nosed and unforgiving. Nobody in that room had ever had him for a class before, but they all knew that if he was the instructor on your check flight, then the squadron staff was thinking of washing you out of the program.
Somebody in that room was a target, but none of them knew who.
The class was scheduled to start at 0800 hours (8:00 AM), but the instructor was nowhere to be seen as the clocked ticked closer and closer to the hour. The men took their seats and looked around at each other, wondering how the senior Captain had ever gotten such a tough reputation when he couldn’t even be on time for class.
They knew he was going to be late, and started counting down the time: 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute to go and he still wasn’t there.
The instant the second hand reached the top of the hour, the door opened and the hard-nosed Captain walked into the room, with a newspaper under his arm and a cardboard cup of coffee in his hand.
Without even looking at the men sitting in the room, he walked over to the instructor’s desk and put down the newspaper and the cup of coffee. Then he picked up a piece of chalk and wrote 6 letters on the blackboard.
P P P P P P
He walked back to the desk, sat down, picked up the newspaper, put his feet up on the desk, and started to drink his coffee. The only things the men sitting in the room could see were his legs sticking out from under the newspaper and his hands holding the newspaper up in front of his face.
Everyone in the class looked at each other again, totally confused. Then, after a few minutes, the section leader stood up and asked, “Sir, what do those letters mean?”
The hard-nosed Captain lowered his newspaper, and glared at the young man who had dared to interrupt him while he was drinking his coffee and reading the morning newspaper.
With a scowl on his face, he got up, walked over to the blackboard and pointed to each letter as he spoke.
Proper Planning Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance
Then he walked back to the desk, where he sat down, picked up the newspaper, and put his feet up on the desk again. Those six words were the only words he said during the entire two-hour mission planning session.
Nothing else needed to be said. If you want to do well, plan well.
But obviously, the people in Albany who wrote the new dissolution law never learned that lesson, and neither has the group trying to dissolve the Village of Brockport.
Under the old dissolution law, you came up with a plan and then voted on it. You got to decide if it was a good plan or a bad plan.
Under the new dissolution law, you vote before you plan.
So when Brockport voters go to the polls on June 15th, there will be no plan at all for them to vote on.
They will have to look at a blank sheet of paper and decide if having no plan is a good idea.
They will have no idea if the crime rate will go up if the Brockport Police Department is disbanded. They will have no idea how dissolution will affect the Fire Department or the Town of Sweden’s budget. Nobody will know what the new taxes will be for street lighting and sewers; or even if the sidewalks will still get plowed in the winter.
There is no dissolution plan and there will be no dissolution plan at all when it’s time to vote about dissolution. Under the new dissolution law, that’s all supposed to happen afterwards.
Isn’t that a bird-brained idea? Isn’t that about as insane as jumping out of an airplane and then reaching for the parachute?
Without proper planning, you will get pitifully poor performance.
* Three men from that navigator training class died in Vietnam; Lieutenant John R. Bush, Lieutenant Thomas R. McCormick, and Lieutenant Joseph M. Orlowski. Honor their memory on Memorial Day.
For more information see:
Study shows Brockport’s police are the best
Treasurer exposes myths about dissolution
Antique fire equipment in jeopardy if Brockport dissolved
Getting your facts straight
New Brockport Police Department contract saves Village $180,000