I wrote yesterday that the last three of four Darr’s Deadwood —staff members who’ve collectively cost taxpayers $25,000 a month since Feb. 1 for doing nothing — were finally leaving the nonfunctioning lieutenant governor’s office. I also wrote that the one staff member I reached, Josh Curtis ($51,564 annually) wouldn’t say where the staff members would be going to work in new jobs.
I bet Sen. Michael Lamoureux, the Senate president pro tem who decreed that these four could draw non-working salaries for five months, that chief of staff Bruce Campbell ($75,132) would wind up on a public teat, because he’s suckled there for years thanks to Republican political appointments. He took the bet, undoubtedly fully aware of Campbell’s next post.
Nonetheless, I was wrong and owe Lamoureux a doughnut. Campbell is merely, for the time being, taking a politically financed teat-in-waiting job. The Democrat-Gazette reports that he’s been hired as political director for the Asa Hutchinson for Governor campaign. I’ll bet another doughnut that if Asa wins Campbell will be back at the public trough.
The reporter didn’t ask what political activities Campbell had been engaged in while nominally “working” for the state for $75,000 a year. I’d been getting reports that he has been politicking for Hutchinson and other Republican candidates. All on his own time, of course. As if there was anything to do during his state office hours. My periodic FOI requests turned up no e-mails or documents issued by Campbell. He never would return a phone call. Busy, I guess.
Is this the kind of administration Hutchinson will run — countenancing a $300,000 do-nothing payroll because the non-workers happen to be political pals? His hiring of Campbell and dead silence on the five-month arrangement — not to mention the least possible comment on the corrupt Mark Darr, who resigned from the office amid an expense account scandal. Please note: Some of the false expense claims were submitted for reimbursement by Campbell himself as office boss..
Another outpost of dead wood, the secretary of state’s office, apparently will hire either Curtis or Raeanne Gardner ($33,660), based on the D-G article. The secretary of state’s office wouldn’t reveal which of these was in line for a job there, but said one had been offered. I’ve filed an FOI.
Darr’s communications director — Amber Pool ($57,000) — stayed on the no-work teat only four months, through early June, before she got hired in the House of Representatives.
Do you sense a certain welfare Cadillac entitlement to government sustenance among the new Republican majority?
PS — Somebody in a position to know indicates Gardner is headed to private employment. So that makes Curtis the likely candidate for Mark Martin’s place.