Archive for March, 2014

Steve Stuart

Recently, a local politician was appointed by his political allies to a high-paying administrative position for which he had only marginal qualifications outside of his political experience. It has been rumored for some time that this politician, who is notorious for petulant and childish behavior while serving in his capacity as an elected official, would not run for reelection because over the last decade he has made a lot of enemies and with many years worth of baggage, he would have a difficult time mustering up the necessary support from the general population to win against a strong challenger. So rather than face large groups of demonstrators and a very negative campaign, this fellow has chosen to rely on the kindness of his friends and take one of those fat government gigs that seem perpetually to await ex-politicians who are being put out to pasture.

No, I am not talking about Don Benton. This time, it’s Clark County Commissioner and CRC proponent Steve Stuart who has availed himself of the privileges associated with government, and is now the new Ridgefield City Manager at a salary range of between $105,000 and $125,000 annually. Why is he different than Don Benton, whose appointment to a county job with almost an identical salary drew the ire of so many sanctimonious Democrats only 10 months ago? Why, because he went through a ‘normal hiring process’ of course. Unlike the evil Benton hiring, in this case everyone can feel good that Stuart was chosen as the best candidate from among a field of qualified applicants, and those other applicants can also feel good that they left whatever they were doing and spent all of those hours to go through the interviewing process, only to wind up not getting the job. They lost fair and square, and that’s all that matters, right?

Most people see this for what it is: yet another blatant example of political cronyism. The major difference is that the Democrats do it better. They line all levels of administration with sympathizers and make sure that their friends are the gatekeepers in the ‘normal hiring process’ who can ensure the desired result. They are experts in the art of government bureaucracy, and of putting a galvanized public face on their decisions. David Madore, despite his vast business experience in the private sector, had no chance to come out looking good in this environment. The gatekeepers were against him and anyone he might have wanted to hire as an administrator. This is why, although I disagreed with the decision to appoint Benton, I find the objections that the hire was made unfairly because the gatekeepers were bypassed to be as laughable as the assertions today that Stuart was hired via a fair process. I doubt that many people are fooled by the attempt to legitimize what amounts to a backroom deal between C-Tran committee buddies. The only question going forward is how in the world any of the local lefties are going to be able to continue using Benton’s hire as a rallying cry, now that one of their own just executed the exact same maneuver.