Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Want a job? Put your family’s business on the street

The city of Sarasota has been playing the damage control game in a big way since a man named Douglas Logan was named to a lucrative job as its “homeless services director.”

Some, myself included, see this job as a sinecure for a jobless former executive akin to the way nonprofits “store” former politicians in “development” positions as they await a new office to run for.

The good thing is that the city is paying this guy in the range of $120,000 a year plus benefits to do something in the area of homelessness, despite his lack of experience in the area.

Back in the old days, you proved your qualifications for a job based on factors that included education, experience and a desire to perform the work. Logan’s big problem is that his past experience included being a sports executive, and none of his past work was in social services that might even touch upon homelessness.

Logan threw the “veteran card,” always used today, and has touted his brief experience in Vietnam in the Army in the 1960s as a qualification for dealing with the homeless.

An article in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on July 6 had him make what is now the usual claim: basically, he’s an alcoholic and his son is bipolar.

So he has experience with two big reasons that people are homeless: alcoholism and mental illness.

OK, using that logic, I should be the head of cardiology at a hospital since I’m a veteran who served in the Indian Ocean during the Iranian hostage crisis. As for the heart issue, well, out of respect I won’t put my family’s business on the street. But I’m waiting for a local hospital to call with a six-figure job since I am – the standard listed above – qualified for such a job.

Logan and his supporters keep bleating that he’s qualified and he said in the article that “his experience developing ‘public structures’ gave him a keen understanding of how to create public/private partnerships, adding those are ‘exactly’ the skills needed to develop the infrastructure necessary to alleviate homelessness in the region.”

As if that isn’t enough doubletalk, try this grab for sympathy:

“At the urging of City Manager Thomas Barwin, Logan — who said he is ‘pretty stoic when it comes to criticism’ and was not initially planning to delve into his personal life — talked about being intimately familiar with two of the biggest problems that the homeless struggle with: Mental illness and addiction.

“The Vietnam veteran said that ‘when I came back in 1967 I had a rocky 10 years becoming a civilian again’ and that he has not had a drink since 1977. In discussing his son’s bipolar disorder Logan said that ‘mental illness is not an abstraction. I know it. I understand it.’

“ ‘This job is important to me for some very obvious reasons,’ he added.”

Oh, well, in that case I guess Logan must be very qualified. The commissioners seem satisfied with a recent report that he delivered on how to solve homelessness in Sarasota even though none of it is very original. I guess when you’re getting six figures a copy-and-paste job is better than nothing.

I suppose the big problem is that every solution to homelessness revolves around getting homeless people into housing of some kind, and not everyone likes the solution if the “housing of some kind” is within 500 miles of their home. Hiring someone who basically ran Major League Soccer into the ground and can only lamely talk about his 10 years spent adjusting after a year in Vietnam is hardly a sign that homelessness is a priority in Sarasota.

In any case, experts on the problem have been ignored, so I suppose amateur hour was inevitable.

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July 9, 2015 - Posted by | Life lessons, Living in the modern age | , , , ,

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