Petty politics

December 03, 1990|By Capital Times, Madison, Wis.

HERE'S a saga of pettiness and arrogance run amok.

Last February, the in-house magazine of the National Park Service contained a column by the agency's legislative specialist. The column began by needling Congress for raising its members' pay. That offended the congressional staff member who handles the agency's budget.

When Park Service officials learned that Neal Sigmon of the House Appropriations Interior subcommittee was upset, they went out of their way to apologize to him.

A lot of good it did them.

When the House and Senate worked out a compromise version of the Interior appropriations bill for the coming year, $75,000 was deleted from the Park Service budget -- the $75,000 allocated for publishing the magazine.

On the record, everyone claims to be mystified by the deletion. Off the record, one congressional staff member said, "From time to time, signals are sent to agencies when they've been bad."

It did not seem to matter whether or not the in-house newsletter served a useful function in communicating with Park Service employees who, of course, are scattered all across the country. All that mattered was that a congressional staff member felt congressional pride had been wounded.

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