Opinion, Uncategorized

The legislative session…

I read with somewhat disbelief this week that the Governor was calling a special session just two days before the start of the regular one. I wondered what the urgency was. I researched it a little on the state media networks. Unfortunately, it didn’t clear the picture much. I couldn’t help but wonder what the alternative motive was. Brent Boggs’s column on this page reinforced my beliefs that there was more to it than what meets the eye. I’ll let you read Brent’s column and decide for yourself.

I found an article in the Charleston paper over the weekend interesting. It was titled “Ethics Panel targets nepotism.” That topic has been a sore spot with me for sometime. When a Sheriff can hire his son to work directly under him… when a County Commissioner can hire her daughter… I gave up hope on any type of control that used the word – nepotism.

I have learned over the years that its how the question is presented to the Ethics Commission that results in bad decisions. But I won’t dwell on that here.

According to the article, the existing rule provides that any public official or employee involved in making decisions that affect the employment of a relative or someone they live with should remove themselves from the decision making process to the extent possible. That statement leaves a lot of room for manipulation.

Now it doesn’t take much common sense to realize that the intent of many legislators when the measure was initially passed was to prevent elected officials from hiring relatives and thereby indirectly padding their own, or their family’s pockets. Our county is not unique. It happens and it shouldn’t. Everyone needs a job, but it isn’t fair to the majority of the workforce when an employee that is related to the office holder or the person of authority gets preferential treatment… and we all know it does happen.

The article indicated that the Ethics Commission hopes the legislature will fix the problems this coming session. Frankly, I’m not very optimistic.  In many instances, those voting on the laws have their family members working for the taxpayer in their home county, they don’t want to lose that control. We will see what happens, but like I said… I’m not going to hold my breath. My experience tells me that common sense doesn’t have much to do with ethics decisions.

As a footnote to a recent column… gasoline prices around the state are dropping, but not in Braxton County!