Tales of clam-eating contests, campaign pledges and Locals getting taken for a ride:
Whenever scandal washes over Ocean Shores, I look to the west; more often than not, I find the OS doppelganger Atlantis City has been-there-got-ripped-off-by-that.
“Atlantis City is a hard scrabble, ripped-from-the-ocean land of harsh rain and chaotic winds where kites go to die.
“People, too.” (Beginning of “Atlantis City II: Death in the Dunes”)
Atlantis City, as most know, is made up of an elected Senatorial Council and led by a strong-willed Admiral — a powerhouse at standing up to everything, except city employees.
The Admiral’s campaign slogan: “No raises!”
The Admiral kept that promise; but, the year after The Admiral’s reelection, why were city employees riding around in Teslas? (Several even organized a “Self-driving smash-up derby,” which ended badly…)
Why were many city employees able to hire “temps” — to do their own jobs?
The new catchphrase: “And overtime for all!”
Nowhere was overtime higher than in the Atlantis City Fire Department, adored by locals for shuttling heart attackers across The Spit “to town,” with the nearest hospital 33 miles from AC.
And the ACFD actually put a few fires a year, most started by firecracker-tossing Tourists or pass-out-smoking Locals.
News item from the Atlantis Semiweekly Supplement (aka “The ASS”): “Firefighters extinguished a blazing shack at the south end of town. They were slightly delayed when the main engine blew a tire, after running over a chunk of cement that chipped off the floor of the new Fire Station…”
That new Fire Station cost anywhere between $500,000 and $25 million, depending on if you wanted to listen to Senators or facts.
Anyway, Tome O’Scanlinn — editor of The ASS, who had come to be known as “the firefighter-fighter” for his stories — cracked a story about firefighters getting paid overtime for “re-energizing” (aka “sleeping”) in the massive Fire House. So, the Admiral reluctantly hired a Fire Chief, “to monitor things.”
Six months on the job, the Fire Chief called a meeting with The Admiral. O’Scanlinn was leaked a copy of the Fire Chief’s presentation, which included:
“Summary of some of the Overtime charges by ff’s:
“632 hours for going door-to-door to campaign for The Admiral and several Senators.
“922 hours for preparing, staffing and cleaning up after ‘The Great Razor Clam Eating Contest,’ which raised $57,233 for the Deluxe Fire Gear Fund.
“589 hours for hospital runs directly related to the festival (‘clams gone bad’).
“1,277 hours for ‘ride alongs,’ with The Admiral and several Senators getting driven around the city with sirens blaring, for no apparent reason.
“231 hours for meetings of the Hot Tub Study Group (which came up with a report that a hot tub at the station is ‘crucial to morale and re-energization’).”
The Admiral took one look at the report, then hastily picked up the phone: “Get me Security!”
Hence, another Fire Chief was run out of town. Leading to yet another lawsuit, leading to yet another “special levy.”
When O’Scanlinn marched into City Hull for a confrontation, The Admiral insisted the report actually showed all the overtime was legit.
But, O’Scanlinn sputtered, what about the ride alongs, with more than 1,000 hours?!
“One thousand percent legit — elected officials must know how their lifesavers work!” The Admiral barked.
“We asked for it,” he added, “and we got it.
“We certainly got taken for a ride.”