It is going to be a hard year budget-wise. Not only has our budget been cut again, but some of our little unofficial contingencies have been spotted for the first time and summarily abolished.
For as long as anyone can remember, for example, we have budgeted for maintenance and repairs to our cabling infrastructure. I know that cables do not wear out and so do you, but up until now as long as the word "cable", "wire", "network", or "connection" appeared in the product description or the name of the company invoicing it we could charge any expense to that code and the accountants were perfectly happy.
Next time your contractor budget is slashed, try asking your favourite mercenary to set up a company called "Equal Opportunities Training Ltd" or whatever your easiest-hit budget code is described as, and you will find it works a treat.
Anyway, this year the bean-counters hired a budget review specialist from Peat Marmite Muckoutalot who was wise to our little deceptions.
Dave, Charlie and I met to discuss ways of raising money outside the regular budget. Selling services to organisations outside of the council is one obvious alternative. Unfortunately, none of us could think of any other prospective customer likely to put up with our utterly contemptuous attitude to the users. Other money-raising options suggested included "striking a bargain with the devil for our souls", "stealing", and "selling personal data to the criminal underworld".
I have commissioned Melinda, our brighter-than-thou business analyst - the one with the MBA and the Toyota Prius - to undertake a feasibility study into our money-making option list.
Mavis is a bit sullen this morning. I rejected her suggestion for the money-making study. I know she has the local connections, but I don't think it is the time for us to branch out internationally. And besides, I am not sure the market in Iran is ready for a web portal for lap dancers.
Melinda presented her report. An impressive show as usual. I particularly liked the CGI effects showing the three of us dragged away to the underworld by Mephistopheles. Unfortunately, that option was ruled invalid, Melinda having calculated that between the three of us we are in debit to Satan already for at least a dozen souls' worth.
"Stealing" was considered too entrepreneurial for the public sector, so it is back to the old favourite. We commissioned phase two from Melinda. Mavis is sourcing the Sicilian phone book.