The “Flexible Deadline”

DeadlineIn an article appearing on entitled “Anti-crime plan deadline passes, but not an issue”, Cincinnati City Manager Harry Blackis quoted as saying “the Friday deadline was always meant to be flexible”.   This caught my attention as I was always under the impression that a deadline was meant to be rigid. Admittedly, there is a lot I don’t know so I turned to Google for clarification. Google tells me that flexible means “able to be easily modified to respond to altered circumstances or conditions” and deadline means “the latest time or date by which something should be completed”. Taking this into consideration, I guess a flexible deadline would be defined as “the later or another latest time or date by which something should be completed.” Oh well, that changes everything.

Now that we have this new definition of what a deadline is, City employees can be less concerned about deadlines in their day-to-day activities. Here might be a few examples with the new flexible deadline could come into play.

Officer to judge: Yes your honor, I realize I was due in court by 0900, however I thought that “due incourt” time was flexible.” or

Subordinate to boss” Don’t write me up for being late to work, I thought my starting time was flexible”. Unless of course one is on flex time, in which case it just might be flexible. But let us not nitpick.

Or in real life situations

“Yes honey, I knew the wedding was to start at 7:00 PM, but I thought it was a flexible time so I thought a few more drinks at the bar would be okay.

“I missed the bus. Damn bus drivers are so inflexible when it comes to arriving at the stop”

Of course I could go on and on, but I am sure you get the drift. The world could quickly become quite chaotic if all deadlines were truly flexible.

Here is the part I don’t understand. Why would Chief Jeffrey Blackwell assume the deadline was flexible and proceed as if it was? Did Harry Black know in advance that the deadline would not be met and if so, did he give his approval to extend the deadline? Did Harry Black tell Jeffrey Blackwell that the deadline was flexible when he set the deadline? If Harry Black knew the deadline would not be met, when did he know? If he knew, should he have been expected to tell the waiting media and impatient blog writers that the plan would not come out on schedule and possibly set a new expectation?It could be, and I am just surmising here, that the anticipated plan is just an attempt to massage the public’s expectations that something actually can be done to curb the violence.

I think it will take a lot more planning that a few days and a few meetings to put together a viable plan that will actually have a possibility of succeeding. I am truly hopeful that something can be done but if they are going to do it, it should be done right. Thus far I have only heard rumors and speculations so I will admit up front I really don’t know what I am talking about. But that has never stopped me before. I would like to see a plan that could quickly step down the violence but I do not believe that can happen in a few days. I do not believe the police have the resources to cause such an effect. Lack of police patrols or walking beats in a certain area have far less effect on crime and criminals than due depressed economic conditions and blighted neighborhoods. The perception needs to change that it takes more than a quick thrill to make a man a father and that manhood is not determined by the number of children one can father. Government has to realize that removing the blight from a neighborhood does not mean relocating people to different Section 8 housing in another neighborhood building some new, non-affordable condos in the old neighborhood. In short, a quick three-day plan is not going to correct all the social ills that are the root cause of the violence in the first place.

The city is experiencing an uptick in violence because the city is dying. Cincinnati has over 200,000 people less than it did in 1970 and the people who left are the hard-working, responsible citizens. The people left are the criminals and the impoverished. It is hard to care what happens in your neighborhood when you can’t stop thinking about how to get something to eat. It is hard not to turn to violence and gangs and drugs when they seem to be the only way to ease the hunger and the thirst and the sense of abandonment. But hey, don’t look at me. I don’t have the answers. Do you?

Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

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Tom Lind

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