This has eluded me for a long time before it was finally clear. I could not solve the Scarsdale riddle.
We have very high taxes in Scarsdale, right ? We also have volunteers performing many of the job(s) that in other municipalities hired professionals cover. Imagine everyone from the Mayor to the Village Board members to the CHP, BAR, Planning Board, etc. is a paid professional in other towns.
Imagine how much the payroll would then be if we had to pay competitive salaries to all...Millions of dollars in our budget. Imagine how high our taxes would be with this additional cost ? But we do not have this this additional cost, volunteers do not get paid. Our taxes should be lower than other towns' taxes, right ? Wrong. Our taxes are higher. So, what is going on ?
Are these so called not-paid residents sitting on all those boards providing us a service or are we providing them a service ?
A free internship. They get to make decisions, learn how a town functions at our expense. We pay for their tuition. They look like they are "serving". We are paying for their tuition, they are learning at our expense. Dearly. No wonder this was formulated by lawyers, no wonder there is no other town like this. Only in Scarsdale.
No wonder most who serve are lawyers as well, no wonder lawyers have such a bad reputation in the US.
This has to STOP !
Paid professionals should serve, who do their job not volunteers who learn on the job and use and abuse this community. They "serve", we become a line on their resume, they get a better professional position because of their Scarsdale experience... There are of course a minor number of exceptions to this...
They have sugar coated their formula with words like civic-duty, volunteerism, community service, etc. But what they are doing is selfish and self-serving all the while appearing altruistic. The job is daunting. On top of their regular day jobs they moonlight trying to " serve"...
They are crushed. They cannot follow all the nuances and ramifications. At the end they nod to the Staff, they sign and move on. Unless there is finally someone like Trustee Callaghan who can see the light, who dissents. But laws still move on, the majority nods. No, most are like sheep following other sheep. " Les moutons de Panurge"...
There is no free lunch - once again. The ones who " serve" are hurting themselves too. They are passing laws that do a disservice to the community. They know they have to deal with this real-estate issue, the preservation issue, but they don't, they can't. They are hurting, we are hurting.
Time to say " Enough".
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, though I was a legal assistant many moons ago. But where I worked, the lawyers taught me very well. I am indebted to them for helping me see things clearly here.
( The above entry was sent to both the Scarsdale Inquirer and Scarsdale10583.com. Neither published it so far, wonder why... )