Just when you thought the Carl R. Greene era at the Philadelphia Housing Authority had exhausted the supply of embarrassing tales, belly dancers jiggle into view.
As reported Sunday, PHA managers held a "diversity training" event in 2006 that featured four belly dancers and salsa lessons. PHA paid $1,200 for the belly dancers; the whole event cost $17,150.
PHA funds at work.
Greene, the former PHA director, was photographed beaming broadly in the company of the dancers. Apparently he missed the memos about a) avoiding accusations of serial sexual harassment, and b) avoiding having your photograph taken with multiple exposed navels at a party on PHA grounds.
Greene's attorney said his client didn't organize the event. But the mid-level managers who did arrange it apparently knew just what type of entertainment would appeal to the boss.
It's not often that editorial writers see the need to warn public agencies not to hire belly dancers. Such a caution would imply that the writers believe it could happen again. But that seems unlikely - even in Philadelphia.
There can't be another manager like Greene, or another board of directors like the PHA's, which was so asleep at the switch that it allowed such events to transpire. Federal agencies are conducting investigations into the extent of PHA waste and mismanagement.
Even though a belly-dancers repeat appears remote, allowing this story to pass into history without condemnation seemed wrong. All those who agree, tap your finger cymbals together. There's also a caution for the belly dancers out there: If you value your good reputations, don't dance at a PHA-sponsored event.