Though many have used it, Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987), journalist and playwright, was officially the one who said it and was known for her acid wit. I think that quote is appropriate to apply to our beleaguered Department of Public Safety. (Newburyport’s DPW)
While the firemen and police departments shower their constituents with many funding requests and more often than not, the politicians will often satisfy them whether it’s a ‘need’ or just something they ‘want’; the DPS as a whole are lucky if they see a budget let alone, lots of ‘bennies’ and just ‘forget about it’ for capital expenditures.
It all boils down to the nature of their work. If I, for example, slave away and clean up my property, weed in the hot sun and tend to my gardens; there is no celebration – just a another new list of what needs to be done! If I dust, vacuum and mop my house, or do the laundry; there is no spouse at the end of the day – gushing with accolades. Life goes on and the next week, the house gets cleaned again and here comes another pile of dirty laundry!
So too, when the city has one of many downtown festivals and the town is overrun by visitors, and the very next day, there isn’t even some blowing trash to mark the event; there is silence. No celebratory editorials, no commendations from City Hall.
But when something occasionally gets overlooked or someone perceives the DPS is not doing what they want – the howls begin. And if the DPS tries to take initiative and do something to improve the city – then comes the hurtful accusation, “You’re wasting the taxpayer’s money.” Calls are made to the Mayor and they’re slapped down.
Let’s face it, unlike our other public services in town; they are not in the limelight, they work very hard, and our city’s economic well-being is heavily dependent on them doing their job. Our city makes money by aesthetics, the way we look, and how sharp we appear; and yet, often this most vital of city departments is often underfunded and understaffed.
If you see one of our DPS out in the hot sun, doing their job; take sometime to show your gratitude. If they’re working near your business or house. find out if they need any refreshment.
Believe me, they need your encouragement in any form you can muster!
Our well-being heavily depends on them.