Monday, December 03, 2007

Is Beshear already lying about his personnel plans? (Part One)

Given the fact that controversy surrounding personnel decisions is what caused Ernie Fletcher to be a one-term governor, it naturally follows that the subject of state employees would be one of keen interest to reporters, and one that Steve Beshear would frequently address.

What a surprise, then to find out that some of the statements Beshear has made publicly don't jibe with reality.

Well, actually it's no surprise given Kentucky Democrats' attitudes toward state government hiring in general, and Beshear's record on the subject in particular, but we expected they'd at least get in office before they started lying.

When Beshear began discussing his transition and staffing plans, he said he believed there were some good employees among the non-merit appointed workers who served in Fletcher's administration. He said he would be evaluating employees and positions on an individual basis and would not engage in wholesale dismissals of existing non-merit employees.

We have information from two separate sources, though, that contradicts Beshear's claims of approaching his appointments with an open mind. Both examples come from the Transportation Cabinet.

We have heard that the Beshear transition team, led by State Sen. Ernesto Scorsone, has asked for the resignations of all the deputy directors in the 12 highway district offices. The deputy directors have already been counseled in the protocols and etiquette of writing resignation letters.

And from another source, we hear that the word has come down that all Transportation employees at the level of director and above will be let go.

If true, and we have no reason to doubt this information given our sources, so much for Beshear's promise of no wholesale firings. Truth be told, most all of the Transportation officials implicated in the hiring scandal were dismissed during the Fletcher administration. Few of the appointees left there had anything to do with the situation.

Beshear's record of turning a blind eye to personnel law violations when he served as attorney general more than two decades ago is proof that he can't be trusted on matters of hiring and firing. We just didn't expect the untruths to start flying before he even takes office. If Beshear is already lying about his plans before his inauguration, what are we as a state in for during the next four years?

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