Scary Movie 2
The fellow coughs to life, is helped to his feet by the heroin and they stagger happily off into the sunset. But before the credits can roll, a boney fist punches through the soft ground; a skeletal figure thrusts its way from the grave and the staccato screech of violins abruptly sounds as the the screen gradually fades to black. Yes friends, the beast is still alive and there’s going to be a sequel. This time, it’s going to be filmed with all the as same horror, but with an even lower budget.
Such a horror flick is playing out in City Hall these days following a recently confirmed rumor from the Public Safety Office. The word around the horn Friday is that Commissioner Ron Kim, a staunch Valerie Keehn loyalist, appointed Eileen Finneran, the mayor’s soon-to-be former deputy, as his number two. Finneran replaces Frank Dudla, the man appointed by shamed former commissioner Tom Curley after the full-time deputy position was restored in 2005.
Kim’s appointment marks the second time Finneran has been arbitrarily thrust into the Public Safety Office, the third time she’s been baltently handed a blatant patronage job, and the first time Dudla has been told to screw off in no uncertain terms. Under the urgings of Keehn, Kim attempted to appoint Finneran as his “second deputy” –despite the fact that the city council had only recently approved a single deputy for his office –just two months after he won election.
The move was rightly seen by the rest of the City Council as a thinly veiled attempt at giving Finneran a free pass into a high-paying but meaningless job. Not surprisingly, Keehn wasn’t among those on the council speaking against a commissioner having two deputies. In fact, she was in the process of needling her own deputy –Nancy Ohlin –out of office so that Finneran would have somewhere to land inside City Hall. On a side note, the Post-Star in its glib article reporting Finneran’s appointment, claims she has “served as deputy mayor since Valerie Keehn took over as city mayor in 2006.” This couldn’t be any more wrong.
However, such a cushy position was necessary to reward Finneran for her party connections –namely her husband being a lawyer in the state Comptroller’s office–which offered the helping push Keehn needed to come into power. And for the better part of two years now, Finneran has orchestrated much of what critics have broadly castigated as the failed policies of the Keehn Administration. In essence, Finneran is the Keehn administration’s Karl Rove, a sort of political operative guiding the administration from behind the scenes.
But with Keehn banished and the Republican guard moving in, Finneran has nowhere to land in January, save for a school district far removed from the puppet strings of Saratoga politics. It’s a prospect that surely didn’t settle well with the rest of Keehn’s dying movement: The puppeteer herself hitting the bricks with Keehn and the rest of the crazies in her cabinet.
As obnoxiously ridiculous as it may sound to appoint Finneran deputy for anyone other than the school district’s crossing guard, the move does make some sense when taken in the context of Ron Kim. Starting in the New Year, he’ll be flanked by a trio of Republicans –the party he openly shunned to jump on Keehn’s coat tails –and staring directly into the eyes of John Franck, the only other Democratic commissioner who openly fought with Keehn. In other words, Ron Kim could use a friend and a confidant or three, even if they happen to be the last heinous vestiges of the Keehn Administration as it desperately tries to stay on life support until the next election cycle.
Moreover, there are those public officials who would certainly welcome a caustic figure like Finneran in the deputy’s seat, rather than someone with an iota of insight or reason when it comes to public safety issues. Another know-nothing in the office with absolutely no political clout in either party will give the reins of authority over to public safety’s most outspoken department head: Police Chief Ed “the castle-builder” Moore. While Finneran continues to sabatoge the city council, Moore can entrench himself even deeper into the castle he’s quite literally building around his department