Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Beshear's dilemma

Quite honestly, we're kicking ourselves for not coming up with this ourselves, earlier.

But we must give credit to our ideological brethren over at The Conservative Edge, who first raised the issue, and a poster who provided a little personal insight.

It hadn't registered with us that Steve Beshear's term as attorney general coincided with the disaster that was the John Y. Brown Jr. administration. But now that we have been reminded of that fact, we are more than happy to note it, report it, and tell the world about it. Because that fact may be what torpedoes Beshear's gubernatorial bid.

You see, when Brown was governor, he raped the merit system and merit employees in ways that Greg Stumbo can only have wet dreams about while wishing that the Fletcher administration had done so.

While the Fletcher administration is accused of only one specific firing -- and that was of a probationary employee who could be dismissed for any reason, or no reason at all (and it turned out that Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert had ample reason for letting Mike Duncan go) -- the Brown administration sent packing dozens of merit employees who had status.

That means, basically, that they could only be let go for cause. But Brown didn't have good cause. He targeted entire offices and scores of employees for reasons known only to him. As a group, they even earned a nickname -- the "John Y. Retirees."

They didn't stay retired long, though. The resulting class action cost the state a ton of money, when the government was forced to rehire the fired employees, give them back pay for the time they were out of work (which was a windfall for them, since many found other employment during the interim) plus punitive damages.

This affair certainly didn't get the play in Kentucky's Democrat-sympathizing media back in the early 1980s that the Fletcher "scandal" did in 2005-06, but it should have.

Like we said, a prosecutor wanting to get his teeth into a hiring scandal would have had a wet dream over Brown's systematic raping of the state civil service system and the people who were supposed to enjoy its protections.

Even though the media glossed over the sorry sordid mess, it was common knowledge across the state. And if people from the Mississippi to the Big Sandy and from Dale Hollow to the Ohio knew of it, surely the attorney general did too.

But where was Steve Beshear? Why didn't he convene a grand jury to investigate these heinous misedemeanors? After all, these were people's lives and livelihoods Brown was screwing around with. It couldn't be because there was no gubernatorial succession back in those days, and both Beshear and Brown were Democrats, could it? Naah, surely not...

At any rate, Beshear's failure to act in the face of real violations of the merit system in the worst possible fashion -- firing people without cause -- effectively renders moot any claims Beshear may make about restoring integrity to Frankfort.

We quote from John Stamper's story in the Lexington Herald-Leader when Beshear announced:

The state will not tolerate “an administration jammed with political cronies” or a governor who undermines laws designed to protect rank-and-file workers from politics, Beshear said.

Beshear has no right or status to talk about such things when he let such blatant violations go unprosecuted right under his nose. It's an issue that will certainly come back to haunt him, and if he's lucky enough to win the primary, we will for sure do our part to make sure the people of Kentucky know what a hypocrite he is.

If Beshear starts spouting this nonsense near you, ask him why he didn't prosecute the Brown administration for its blatant violations of merit system laws. And let's see how Beshear defends that position, nearly 30 years later.


At 10:03 PM, January 02, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

qThanks for the credit. You are doing a great job with your blog. As for Beshear, you can bet that the Fletcher people are all over it like white on rice. Jonathan Miller will have to decide whether he will attack Beshear over it, or let it go.

Brian Goettl
The Conservative Edge

At 12:46 AM, January 03, 2007, Anonymous Pete Axhelm said...

Scandal, scandal, scandal... Anyone in Kentucky politics planning on, oh I dont know, not being corrupt?

At 11:07 PM, January 05, 2007, Blogger M. Sheldon said...

How 'bout the financial state of his running-mate's campaign after his loss to Jim Bunning?
A real dream team there, Kentuckians.


At 2:18 AM, January 06, 2007, Anonymous RobinHadMe said...

No kidding... Nightmare may be more apt...


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