Beshear's empty gesture
What more could we do but laugh at the press release, issued late this afternoon, that Gov. Beshear and Lt. Gov. Mongiardo, along with a handful of staff members, are taking a 10 percent pay cut for next year?
When you can count the number of people making such a "sacrifice" on both hands and still have fingers left, you can certainly use one of those fingers to point to a completely hollow and meaningless gesture, and another finger to salute the degree of fiscal mismanagement Beshear has shown during his first term in office.
There's nothing great, grand and glorious in this gesture. This is nothing more than a PR stunt and will do nothing to help alleviate the budget shortfall that Beshear keeps predicting.
If he really wanted to do something, he would order an immediate, across-the-board 20 percent pay cut for all non-merit employees above a certain rank or a designated pay scale. He should exempt some of the youngsters in the Governor's Office and some of the non-merit secretaries, who barely scrape by on their state salaries as it is, but he should immediately apply the pay cut to cabinet secretaries, department commissioners, division directors, executive directors, their assistants -- in short, anyone who's in a high-ranking management or advisory position upon appointment by and serving at the pleasure of the governor.
From here it appears that most of Beshear's appointments are overpaid based on their job performances this far into his term. We can't think of a single cabinet secretary, for instance, who's worth more than about $75,000, based on the work product they've produced. And if Jonathan Miller and Joe Prather had to pay the state to work, they'd still be bad hires.
People with discerning noses for news will be able to figure out what's stinking in this meaningless gesture pretty quickly. It'll be recognized for the cheap publicity grab that it is. But if Beshear wants to really be serious about making a statement, he'll move quickly to cut salaries for his appointees and by more than a measly 10 percent. Otherwise it's just more governing by press release, which is about all Beshear and his incompetent bunch can do.