Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On a Perk and a Prayer

At the Springfield Baptist Church, Jim Devenney's "funny situation" (see below) got funnier. Not funny "haha" but funny awkward.

Earlier, he'd been at a polling place surrounded by old political friends and collegues, (including County Councilman Tom McGarrigle) who were now supporting his opponent and former assistant committeeman Bob Layden. He would find the same thing at the church polling place.

Layden was there with his wife and so was, along with various other GOP committee people, State Rep. Bill Adolph.

The affable Devenney stood closest to entrance handing out cards that had been challenged in court by the township GOP for using the Republican elephant symbol. Judge Joe Cronin yesterday denied the the party's request for an injunction to keep Devenney from handing out his cards.

"It's been kind of nutsy," Devenney said of the campaign. "A lot of negative stuff" has been said about him, mostly having to do with his resignation friom the board of commissioners over his abuse of the commissioners' pool perk, that allows their family to be members at a much-reduced rate. (He got his adult kids and their kids on the list of approved perksters.)

"The whole thing is so asinine," Devenney said again yesterday. As for the campaign, he said, "The depressing thing is that people are so mean."

He's referring to Mike Puppio, the township's GOP leader, and the guy who told him he needed to resign last year for his embarrassing abuse of privilege.

"This is so mean and rotten," said Devenney. "I was part of the guys. I did nothing. I think I have a decent reputation. People know me."

A few feet away, Bob Layden was handing out his own literature and greeting the few voters coming to the polling place.

"Me and jim are friends so it's awkward," said Layden. "Between me and Jim it hasn't been a dirty game at all." But he didn't deny the party has played hard to win the contest for their chosen candidate.

"I didn't get involved in any of the party stuff," said Layden. He just worked hard to introduce himself to voters who didn't know him after being granted Devenney's seat last year after his resignation.

"I had no idea I would be running in a primary. I concentrated on talking to people and I let the party take care of the rest."

Still, he said, the situation, "kinda' sucks."

Adolph said he's known Layden since he got involved in Springfield youth football. As for the Devenney situation, "I don't know all the details," he said. "It was surprising when Jim announced he was running."

An older voter came down the walk. Adolph handed him a Layden card.

"They're bringingt out all the big guns," said the unsmiling man.

"I hope you'll vote for Bob," Adolph said. The man took the card without returning Adolph's smile.

Adolph shrugged.

There are plenty of people in this ward who don't like the heavy-handedness with which Devenney was treated by party leaders. And you've got to hand it to him, he plays the victim well.

What happens if Devenney's wins, I asked Adolph.

"If he wins," said Adolph, "we'll be supporting him in the fall."

This allegedly corrupt, disgraced, perk-abusing commissioner? In Springfield? You bet your ass.


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