Effective immediately, Senior Reporter John Hazlehurst will be taking an extended leave of absence from the Business Journal to join Mayor Steve Bach’s Administration.
Bach created a new position for Hazlehurst, titled “Keeper of the Dogs of War.” No new appropriation will be necessary to fund the position, which will be folded into the City’s contract with the Humane Society, and partially funded through existing public safety appropriations.
Hazlehurst will be responsible for acquiring, training and deploying nine Dogs of War. It is anticipated that the animals will be of various breeds, including Belgian Malinois, German Shepherds and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.
“We’re looking for intelligent, athletic and powerful dogs,” Hazlehurst said, “who will be able to react quickly and appropriately to rapidly changing situations.”
The dogs will have free run of all city facilities. Each dog will be assigned a single task, to shadow and mentor a particular member of City Council.
“The Mayor wants to protect City Councilors from erroneous votes while at the dais,” Hazlehurst explained. “Each dog will sit quietly and alertly behind its designated Councilor. Should he or she be on the verge of making an incorrect vote, the dog will quickly move to correct it. The Mayor sees this as a way to minimize friction between the administrative and legislative branches of city government.”
Hazlehurst denied that such sudden canine interventions might harm Councilors.
“It’s very simple,” he said. “If they vote carefully, they’ll perfectly safe. But as George H.W. Bush might have said, any attempt to prevent the dogs from performing their sworn duties wouldn’t be prudent.”
Councilors received Bach’s initiative with dismay and anger, though none would go on the record.
“He can’t be serious,” said one Councilor. “This has got to be some kind of April Fools’ joke. And what does John know about dog training? If he’s as bad with dogs as he is with words, everyone who comes to City Hall will be endangered by a pack of vicious mutts.”
Another Councilor saw a direct link to City for Champions.
“Dogs don’t respect property rights,” he said. “They’ll poop on anybody’s lawn. This is just a scheme cooked up by the mayor and his developer cronies to use eminent domain to acquire property in southwest downtown.”
Only Keith King would speak for the record.
“At least people will understand the truth,” he said. “The city has gone to the dogs.”