Friday, August 12, 2005

Killing Two Separate Birds With Two Separate Stones (when "stones" = inquiries)

The Sun reported earlier this week that Governor Ehrlich has called for shelving a legislative inquiry into his administration's personnel practices and replacing it with a bipartisan study of state personnel law in general.

The probe stems from allegations that the Ehrlich administration has been unduly political in the state's personnel practices. A large number of state employees, who were also registered Democrats, were fired when Ehrlich took office in 2002. Close Ehrlich aide Joseph F. Steffen, Jr., who resigned earlier this year in another scandal, was tasked with compiling a list of state agency employees to be fired, alledgedly due to their politics and opposition to the governor.

Ehrlich has only addressed the accusation in passing, focusing his efforts on discrediting the investigation. He claims that some members of the inquiry, such as Sen. Brian E. Frosh, are biased against the governor and will prevent the investigation from reaching a fair conclusion. The Gazette reports that, if he doesn't like the way things go, "the governor promises to launch 'the nuclear option' and release a list of relatives, girlfriends and incompetent allies of Democratic legislators given state jobs by Democratic governors. Oh, what fun that would be."

In his latest effort to take steam out of the legislative probe, Ehrlich wrote a letter in which he calls for substituting it with "a bipartisan commission . . . to examine personnel practices in state government."

Truth be told, this is a great idea. The state's personnel laws are designed to allow the Second Floor of the Statehouse to dish out employment as political payback. Such a system encourages corruption and allows our state to be run by those with connections, not with merit. The state should launch Ehrlich's proposed commission.

However, the legislative inquiry can go ahead as well. A bipartisan commission into personnel law and a legislative inquiry into specific abuses of those laws are not mutually exclusive. If Ehrlich politicized hiring and firing, we have a right to know about it. The administration should end its smear campaign and let the probe investigate.

from The League: Reassembled


Blogger Dr. C said...

Continue to find your blog a source of inspiration:

Ah, Maryland politics.

8/13/2005 01:23:00 PM  

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