I was delighted this past week to read on these pages Amy Calder’s splendid account of Mayor Nick Isgro’s journey to our nation’s capital, where he attended the United States Conference of Mayors on Jan. 24.

I always encourage our elected officials to visit the nation’s capital. It gets them out of town, out of trouble and into the papers.

While there he enjoyed a talk by the current president and most notably, Dr. Ben Carson, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

It’s always rare for anyone to meet the elusive, mysterious Dr. Carson, who is not always available to the public, other appointed officials or even POTUS himself.

While in Washington, Mayor Isgro seems to have wisely avoided political comment, and instead networked with other small town mayors and discussed economic development, an area where, thanks to Colby’s big footprint, we excel.

However, I was shocked — shocked, do you hear — to read the basic amount we sent our mayor off to the big city with, which City Manager Mike Roy listed as our “established standard rate limits: “Breakfast, $7; lunch, $12; and dinner, $30.”

Say what? I don’t care what party our mayor belongs to, left, right, or the mysterious “moderate” branch inhabited by Sen. Collins, our mayor should be given a visible cloak of respectability at all times, and especially when we send him or her out to meet the public in such flatlander areas like Washington, D.C.

The mayor is regrettably a Republican, but he’s our mayor, represents the city of Waterville in public places, and that’s the important thing.

Before the mayor plans his next mayors’ conference in D.C., I offer some advice.

The first thing my mother would check, if it were I going to D.C., would be, “Do you have clean underwear, two white shirts, shoe polish and a small flower for your jacket’s button hole?”

My mother, were she here, would observe and comment that his honor Mayor Isgro should always “makes a nice appearance.”

She would also say, “Be sure you GO before you go.” I don’t think we have to worry about that.

Most importantly, my dear mother would always add, “Make sure you have enough money.”

That’s what struck me when I learned that his meager dining allotment also included the paltry amount of $914 that covered “airfare, meals, mileage to and from Waterville to the airport, and Uber transportation to and from the airport to the hotel, The Hamilton.”

I don’t see tips for services included there. That’s important. For example, what if our mayor had lunch with Mayor Lee Brand of Fresno, California, who is known to be a generous tipper?

I would want Isgro to be the first to grab the check. How is he going to do that when he already used his $12 for lunch?

The Hamilton Hotel: Expedia.com gives us an idea of how his honor fared while sleeping there. Customers at the Hamilton are regularly offered a glass of champagne at check in. Classy act, but we don’t want our mayor staggering into the elevator and unable to find the button to his floor. I suspect that Nick passed on the breakfast bubbly.

It’s clear that I am not a supporter of his honor’s politics, but I’ve heard that he enjoys a reputation as a cost-conscious Republican. Former Mayor Paul LePage claimed to be a cost-conscious Republican. How did that work out in D.C.?

Only $7 for breakfast. At the Hamilton? In D.C. that would get him a large glazed doughnut and a large coffee at the local Dunkin’ Donuts. I’m told there is a Starbucks just outside the main entrance. Just one latte at Starbucks would wipe out the breakfast allowance. Avoid Starbucks unless they’re having “Happy Hour,” where you get an extra drink free.

And $12 for lunch? You can’t even eat in Waterville for $12 bucks. Back to Dunkin’. For dinner $30? Where? In Fargo, North Dakota?

I’m also told that there is Joe’s Seafood Prime Steak & Stone Crab nearby. Skip that, your honor, and ask where the local Applebee’s is located.

I am a Democrat, but Waterville is my home now. On your next trip to D.C. your honor, make us proud, and don’t forget to GO before you go.

 

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer. 


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