It is no secret that our Barnstable County Regional Government is struggling with finances. After years of deficit spending, we now have a team in place that is making the difficult decisions to bring county spending under control.
It's a running battle, as costs are reduced in one area they face rising costs - like employee medical insurance premiums - over which the county has no control.
Then comes the "Suite Deal" - a rather good story published today by the local daily.
This latest scandal to hit county government centers around six members of the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates and their clerk. The seven attended a Massachusetts Municipal Association conference and opted for room upgrades at nearly double the discounted group rate.
You can read the story for all the sordid details of miscommunication and perhaps even a bold-faced lie about the "club level" rooms supposedly being on a "secure floor" that apparently doesn't exist at Sheraton Boston Hotel.
The optics of this matter would be ugly at any time but are downright despicable when some county employees might be facing layoffs as the budget process moves along. What doe the Assembly and their clerk say to those folks who might lose their jobs while they luxuriate at the "club level" on the county's dime?
Do the decent thing...
The six elected Assembly Delegates should do the decent thing and reimburse the county for their share of the room upgrade, which is reported to total nearly $2,000.
Write the checks, show the public your contrition and receive their foregiveness.
As far as Janice O'Connell, the $86,776 clerk of the Assembly of Delegates... her position is already under budget scrutiny. When the music stops, let's make sure there's no chair left for her.