Sooner or later, Bob Ficano is going to run out of stool pigeons.
The time will come when Ficano, the Little Italian General and sneaky Wayne County Executive, looks around him and the only person left to blame is himself.
Turkia Mullin is out as CEO of Metro Airport. No doubt you know that by now. Her brief tenure as CEO ended Monday afternoon, about two months after she received an obscene severance payment when she left Wayne County after serving as its Economic Development Director.
Mullin had to go. Perception is reality in politics, public and civil service. Once tainted, it's awfully difficult to get that sheen back.
She didn't create the cronyism and palm greasing that goes on in the Guardian Building (County HQ), but she certainly didn't do anything to stop it. Not that that is her charge, but she didn't have to be so sassy about it.
"I'm worth it!" she crowed, like the models in those makeup and shampoo commercials, when the $200,000 severance hit the news.
No doubt Mullin thought she and Ficano would be lockstep in snubbing the media and holding the people of the County in contempt.
It didn't work this time.
Mullin's "I'm worth it" comment was one of the worst things she could have said, given the situation at hand. You know, the situation where the County shamelessly asks for concessions and give backs from the rank-and-file while at the same time lining the pockets of do-nothing appointees.
Then Mullin, the day after declaring she was worth it, tried to play the gender card. All the attention the severance was rapidly getting, she whined, was simply because she's a woman. After all, Mullin reasoned, her predecessor got a similar sweetheart severance deal---and he was a man. Where was the outrage then?
Well, "then," the media didn't get its mitts on it. And just because Mullin wasn't a pioneer in the sweetheart severance business doesn't let her off the hook.
So she had to go. The authority board did the right thing in dismissing her, by a 5-2 vote. Of course, the firing will be challenged in court, but that's the penance the authority will have to pay for hiring Mullin in the first place.
Seems the board may not have done all of its due diligence in researching Mullin's claims as far as her involvement and influence in bringing the now infamous $5.5 billion of new development to the County.
The papers did, and they found that Mullin's resume was a little padded.
Happier, grease palming times: Top County deputy Azzam Elder (left), Turkia Mullin and County Exec Bob Ficano make a smiling trio---before Ficano threw them under the bus
That's all well and good. Mullin had to go, but look at what her supposed supporter, Ficano, did to her.
As the heat got turned up, the Little Italian General offered up a few sacrificial lambs---a top deputy, an attorney, a retired contractor---for slaughter. He read a prepared, very insincere sounding "apology" as he announced the suspensions of the first two and the firing of the third lamb. Ficano all but rolled his eyes as he read it. I saw the video. It was pretty shameful.
Then, when the lambs weren't enough, Ficano distanced himself from Mullin, who he supposedly supported and whose career he bolstered.
On Friday, Ficano said Mullin's leadership had been "compromised" and that the board, when they met on Monday to discuss her fate, should "do what they need to do."
Isn't it a riot when the bad guys start turning on each other?
What the Little Italian General failed to acknowledge was that it was his doings that placed Mullin in the position she was in, albeit indirectly.
Wouldn't it have been nice if Ficano had instead said, "I'm saddened that Turkia Mullin is being caught up in a controversy based on policies of the past that were not of her own doing"?
That's all. He wouldn't have had to issue more support. Just the above statement. It would have been the honorable thing to do. It would have been gentlemanly. It would have been stand up.
Instead, Ficano added Mullin to the people he keeps throwing under the bus.
Sooner or later, the Little Italian General is going to turn around, looking for another lamb, and there won't be anybody left except him.
And as Three Dog Night crooned, "One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do."