Either the stress of the job has gotten to him, or the man is just plain mean.
This community, once simply sliding slowly downhill, is now about to implode. The county is laying off hundreds of people, closing parks, causing massive cutbacks in library service, and slashing funding to social-service agencies and arts organizations. And while he's dishing out the cuts, County Executive Jack Doyle is throwing mud at decent people: the heads of community organizations --- and his own employees.
At last week's County Legislature meeting, numerous speakers urged the county not to cut funding to the social-service agencies. Doyle's response? Here is a verbatim quote, from a WXXI interview following the meeting:
"Most of their CEOs earn more than I do as a county executive. They ride around in very large, expensive automobiles paid for by their programs. They have, basically, small budgets. And yet they are the first to complain when economic times get tough."
This kind of outrageous stereotyping is not only untrue, but it's divisive at a time when Doyle ought to be trying to pull the community together.
When the Federation of Social Workers urged the county to save employees' jobs, Doyle said that rather than protest, the federation should encourage its more senior members to retire. How much worse could the insult be to people who have given much of their adult lives to public service? (He could, I suppose, tell them to die and get out of the way.)
Jack Doyle, as I've said before, did not cause all of the county's current budget problems. He didn't wreck the national economy. And a lot of the county's programs and services are mandated by law.
Many of his critics --- myself included --- believe he could have lessened the pain by raising taxes modestly over the past few years. Many of us believe that the county could have saved money on the new jail by relying more heavily on alternatives for non-violent criminals. Many of us believe that we have too many layers of government.
But you don't have to agree on those issues to recognize the harm that Doyle is doing right now --- with the budget cuts, and with his attitude.
This is a serious time in this community. Doyle and his henchmen have created some of our problems. Their shortsightedness will continue to feed our decline. And their arrogance is appalling.
Clearly, it's time for a revolt. Reports are circulating that some Republicans have had enough. That they are looking for someone to run in place of Doyle in the next election. That they have a certain prominent business leader in mind.
Whether that is the case, or is just wishful thinking on the part of some dissatisfied Republicans, I do not know. I do know that Doyle's reign has to come to an end.
This newspaper cannot end it. Outcries from the average Monroe County resident cannot end it. Democrats will say that the way to end Doyle's reign is to elect a Democrat in the next election for county executive, in 2003. That may be. But the community cannot wait until then.
Republicans could pressure Doyle to resign, sure. But the current party leadership would simply appoint Maggie Brooks in his place. With all due respect to the County Clerk, we'd be no better off; the Minarik-Doyle regime would still call the shots.
Rational Republicans must begin immediately to take back their party. That must start with Republicans in the County Legislature, who must move quickly and boldly to stand up to Doyle.
Outside of the legislature, there are plenty of silent Republicans, and silent business leaders, who could put a stop to this. So far, the silent Republicans have been scared to death of Jack Doyle. And the silent business leaders have stayed aloof, unwilling to dirty their hands.
That must end. No one can in good conscience keep silent any longer. Doyle's "leadership" is killing the community.