A city employee was forced to resign because...he asked a welfare recipient to ferret-sit for him. No, really. Kempe Hope, a caseworker at the city's Human Resources Administration, was forced out of his $41,101-a-year job because city employees aren't allowed to use their positions for "any financial gain, contract, license or privilege." Not to mention the fact that, thanks to Rudy Giuliani's deep hatred of the wee mammals, pet ferrets are illegal in NYC.

Okay, so maybe it wasn't just about the ferret. "In a settlement with the Conflicts of Interest Board, Hope also admitted to having engaged in 'additional conduct that violates the HRA code of conduct.'" That additional conduct was not disclosed.

But also, as the Times notes, ferrets pop up in the oddest political settings. Not only did the Mayor of 9/11 Town famously hate the "little weasels" (which aren't weasels), but also:

Former Gov. William F. Weld of Massachusetts, an unabashed pal of the mammals, earned praise and mockery when he insisted his state not be “immune to the discreet charm of the domestic ferret.”

And as governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have legalized ferret ownership in the state. Mr. Schwarzenegger called the measure flawed, but added: “I love ferrets. I co-starred with a ferret in ‘Kindergarten Cop.’ ”

Anyway, moral of the story? If you are city employee, don't ask people you oversee to work for you.