Linda Bremer is out of the office today. Her secretary says she has meetings -- and more meetings -- that could stretch well into the evening. If we were Linda Bremer, we'd steer clear of the office, too, at least until things simmer down.
Bremer, perhaps you've heard, is Tacoma's Human Rights Director. She oversees 33 employees and makes in excess of a $130,000 a year, and she has a really, really, nice office. That's because she used almost all of the $15,000 in discretionary funds allotted to department heads on an office remodel.
The story first appeared earlier this week in the political blog The New Takoman
KING5 TV picked it up and then yesterday it became the kind of bureaucrats-gone-wild tale that is right up radio talk-show ranter Dori Monson's alley. The KIRO-FM host had a field day with it, as he drew parallel's to his recent move to a new basement office at the station.
"We got a couple of desks they were going to throw away, that's it, that's the office," Monson said with that patented mock rage of his. "They're not going to give us any money."
Monson was able to track down Bremer, who said apologetically that "in hindsight," it was probably not a good idea to spend the money on fixing up her office. "In hindsight," Monson roared when she was no longer on the phone. "The money we pay these people, When are they going to show some foresight?"
The $14,000 price tag on Bremer's office makeover included a new desk and bookcases that were built by carpenters.
What's given this story legs, of course, is the fact that 100 police officers and firefighters in Tacoma face the specter of layoff notices as early as Jan. 20 as the city tries to fill a $32 million budget hole.