Nephew Izzy A Shoe-in for Deputy County Administrator Job

My weird nephew Izzy called me the other day. He was so excited, he could barely contain himself and probably didn’t. Thankfully, it wasn’t a video call.

Our family knows Izzy as the guy who’s ten cents short of a dime. Izzy graduated from college with the lowest possible grades you could get and still earn a bachelor’s degree. He managed to cram four years of college into seven years. Luckily, extracurricular activities helped land him a job as a bartender at the notorious Crystal Pistol.

Job Description and Benefits Have Izzy in Tizzy

I asked what had him so excited. His manager told him about a job listing for “Deputy County Administrator-Resilience and Infrastructure.”

Harris County from over I-10 looking west at downtown Houston and the I-69 split.

I quickly looked it up and couldn’t believe my eyes. It required only a bachelor’s degree and reportedly paid well into six figures. After ten years, Izzy is still trying to get into the two figure bracket.

Izzy has a hard time managing his bubble-gum budget. And the county job entails supervising the expenditure of billions of dollars. But Izzy swore he could do it. “Already got me a pocket calculator, Uncle Bob,” he said confidently.

“It’s good to think ahead, Izzy,” I said trying to encourage him, but not quite sure what to say. As I continued to browse through the job requirements…

Imagine my surprise when I learned that you did not need an engineering degree to supervise hundreds of engineers in the County Engineers Department, Flood Control District and Toll Road Authority.

Neither do you need any accounting experience to manage the $800 million per year that the Toll Road Authority brings in – or the $5 billion flood bond. But you do need to know how to operate a telephone. Seriously. That’s why Izzy figured he was a shoe-in.

Undaunted, Izzy pointed out that the job comes with a desk chair. Not to mention other benefits, including:

  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Life Insurance
  • Long-term disability
  • 10 days of vacation each year for the first five (5) years of service
  • 10 county holidays plus one (1) floating holiday
  • Dependent Care Reimbursement

Dependent care really rang his chimes. Even though Izzy is only 32, he pays child support for eight kids. But even with that, dependent care is not the biggest attraction for my nephew.

Izzy would get to ride Metro for free. That appealed because riding his bike to work has its drawbacks in August and September. He can only afford to wash his uniform once a week. No wonder the manager referred him to the County job!

The Resilient Izzy

But Izzy as usual saw the bright side. “Hey, it’s an online application. I won’t even have to buy deodorant.”

Reviewing more job requirements, I asked Izzy if he was certain he could solve “complex operational and structural challenges.” 

“Damn straight,” he fired back. “I can pour drinks with both hands and feet tied behind my back without spilling a drop. Show me another bartender that can do that!” I wasn’t going to argue the point with Izzy. I figured, at a minimum, his attitude could teach Harris County a thing or two about resilience.

“But do you have the ability to ‘thrive in ambiguity,’ Izzy?”

“What’s ambiguity?”

“That’s where your boss doesn’t tell you what to do,” I said.

He exploded with enthusiasm. “Damn! This job was MADE for me,” he shouted!

Interfacing with Local Officials

“It also says here you’d have to interface with local officials.”

“Hell, I know half of ’em from down at the Crystal Pistol,” he said. “That’s where you really get things done. In the back room.”

Izzy had an answer for everything. I was beginning to think he just might have the right stuff for the job.

Undaunted, I pointed out that he needed five years of supervisory experience.

“I’ve been supervising the dancers at the club longer than that!” he said with a smile that I could hear over the phone. “What else? Give me something harder.”

“Says here you need five years of experience designing, managing, constructing or operating major infrastructure projects.”

Izzy Plugs His Infrastructure Experience

Izzy fell silent. After a long, thoughtful moment, he said, “Well, I spend half of each shift in the bathroom and the other half on the phone. So yeah, I got experience operating major infrastructure systems.”

At this point, Izzy had exhausted me. So I said “Go head. Send in your resume.”

“What’s a resume, Uncle Bob?”

It will be tough to beat Izzy’s qualifications for this job, but if you’re interested, hurry. Applications close September 6th.

I didn’t have the heart to tell Izzy that they likely already have someone specific in mind for the job. Why else would you write a job description that involves managing half the county and fits Nephew Izzy?

Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/1/2021

1464 Days since Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.