Speaker John Gard today announced that, due to inactivity, the Assembly Committee on Southeast Wisconsin Freeways was to be renamed the Assembly Committee on Southeast Wisconsin Freeloaders, effective immediately.
"Look, I know it's policy that we just go handing out committees to everyone and their grandmother," said Gard. "I'm not saying I like the policy. We could run this place with 20 committees, no problem. But then I'd have to hear 25 legislators whine about not being good enough to chair a committee. So we come up with 25 make work committees. Do we really need Health, Public Health, and Medicaid Reform? Of course not. Do we need Transportation, Highway Safety, and SE Wisconsin Freeways? Nope. Children & Families and Family Law? Education, Education Reform, and Colleges & Universities? Shall I continue?"
"But the fact that (Honadel) couldn't even come up with one bill that we could refer to his own committee for action is ridiculous," said Gard. "If this waste of tax money comes up in my congressional campaign I'm going to be seriously pissed."
The relative do-nothingness of Honadel's committee was recently highlighted by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporters Cary Spivak and Dan Bice. According to the Spice Boys, as they are affectionately known, Honadel's committee met four times, the last meeting being a booze-filled junket to Miller Brewing.
"Yeah, that 'meeting' was brutal," said Phil Cardis, Legislative Council staff attorney for the committee, said while waiting in line at Quizno's. "They took the whole damn tour of the brewery while I had to lug those f#@$%@! statute books around. You'd think at least Honadel might offer to carry one since this was his great idea in the first place. Those things get heavy after awhile."
Cardis continued, "So Honadel said he's coming up with a report to improve state roads? Yeah, sure, he's coming up with it and I'm the King of Durka-Durkastan. Considering we give him an extra .5 staff positions to do committee work, and this committee hasn't done a damn thing, this report better be the best thing written since (staff attorney Mark) Patronsky's 2001 Leg Council Book Club presentation on To Kill A Mockingbird. Seriously, I've still got a copy of that on my desk somewhere. Brilliant stuff. Who knew there was any new subtext left to find in Boo Radley?"
Honadel was unavailable for interview but did offer the following comments via email:
"When I ran a few years ago, I was a political outsider. I wanted to change the system, you know? Shake things up. But you know what? The system is pretty damn cozy. I get to chair a committee that deals with matters on which I have no expertise just because I'm not a freshman legislator. The committee barely meets, generates no work, and entitles me to spend another 20 grand in taxpayer dollars every year on a staff position that primarily serves to make me look good and get me re-elected. And now that we're pretty much done with session until next January, I'm going to collect nine months of pay just for breathing, speaking at Optimist Club luncheons, and campaigning."
"Seriously, I can't believe more people don't run for public office. $46K a year, another $10K in per diems, great benefits, staff who do all your work and live to make you look good. This is the greatest part-time job in the world. Every day is like going to Disneyland."
Disclaimer: Still satire. If a Leg Council Book Club truly exists, please e-mail me the details.