State jobs for legislators – We’re seen this movie before

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Good afternoon,

The Delaware  Business Now Facebook page is a largely peaceful place, with a few comments here and there.

That wasn’t the case with the  appointment of retiring State Rep. Helene Kelley to a top post with the Delaware Lottery.

Terms like cronyism and revolving door were used by readers to describe the personnel move

The Democratic majority in the executive and legislative branches took much of the blame as well they should since they move most of the levers of power.

Democrat Keeley moved over from the state Department of  Labor, a favored location for legislators over the years.

But in my 30 years or so in Delaware,  I have seen instances of such behavior on both sides of the aisle. Full employment seems to be a given for legislators.

Perhaps that’s a factor in Delaware having one of the lowest unemployment compensation rates among the 50 states. 

Just last week, we saw Republican  State Auditor Tom Wagner hire  possible successor James Spadola to a temporary post with the office a couple of weeks before an election. Spadola is facing off against Democratic nominee Kathy  McGuiness.

Other instances involve legislators taking jobs in school districts and other entities that get state funding.

Wagner cited upcoming surgery and staff turnover as a reason for Spadola’s appointment.

In addition to potential conflicts of interest, the insider hiring pattern populates state government with people who are skilled at working with their former colleagues but are typically wedded to the status quo.

The result is a state government that is slow to innovate or adopt  best practices from outside its borders.

Nepotism also creeps in as sons and daughters come on board at many state agencies, not to mention friends of legislators who somehow land state jobs.

It’s time to end this foolishness.

Possibilities include no state pensions for members of the General Assembly, a shorter session, and no state jobs while drawing a legislative paycheck – period.

Any other ideas? Let me know. – Doug Rainey, publisher.

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