RICH JAMES: Cid is acting like a Republican

2013-05-12T00:00:00Z RICH JAMES: Cid is acting like a RepublicanBy Rich James nwitimes.com
May 12, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Lake County Councilwoman Christine Cid has fed at the public trough for years.

She has eaten well.

Cid owes the Lake County Democratic Party that has backed her in elections and chauffeured her from job to job.

Yet she was about to tell her benefactors to go scratch.

Cid said she wouldn’t provide the necessary fifth council vote to override the Lake County Board of Commissioners’ veto of a county income tax. But commissioners, surprisingly, approved the tax Friday.

But Cid’s not off the hook. Her stance on the tax magnified her two existing problems.

First, she extracts two salaries from the county treasury. She has been since 2004.

Early on, Cid was employed by the North Township assessor’s office. When that went sour, she hooked onto the county clerk’s office.

She has bounced around the county since she started as a supervisor in the county clerk’s East Chicago office and later the clerk’s Gary office. For unknown reasons, she finally landed in county Treasurer John Petalas’ office.

Through most of those years she was raking in about $60,000 annually from the two jobs.

The Legislature finally decided it isn’t very good government for someone like Cid to be a county elected official and also work for the county.

Cid has a decision to make come 2014. If she runs again for the council and wins, she’ll have to give up her county job, or vice versa.

There was a lot of speculation that Cid would end up with a cushy county job if she committed to the income tax, although that type of wheeling and dealing is illegal. But I guess that was too much to ask when you already are drawing two county paychecks.

To the very end, Cid said she wouldn’t vote for the tax although she did in 2007 and just last year was pro-tax to fund E-911.

Cid has drawn the wrath of just about everyone in elective politics, except Republicans, who irrationally think saving a nickel here and a dime there will solve the county’s money woes.

Hammond Mayor and party Chairman Thomas McDermott wants the tax. So does Anthony Copeland, the mayor of East Chicago – the city Cid calls home. The mayors say government desperately needs the tax to keep the personnel needed to provide basic services.

The same is true with the county, which has said more massive layoffs will be necessary without additional revenue.

These aren’t tax-and-spend Democrats. These are elected officials who know the gravity of the situation.

Cid might be done politically as a Democrat. She ought to consider running as a Republican. She and the GOP are a lot alike – they either don’t understand why the tax is needed or don’t care.

Rich James has been writing about state and local government and politics for more than 30 years. Email him at rjames@219.com. The opinions are the writer’s.

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