Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Mister We Could Use a Man Like Herbert Hoover Again

So those last posts apparently struck some nerves, which is a reminder to me that other issues are mostly in the margins and that our public school system, in HoCo especially, is the heart of the matter.  Maybe our PTA’s should be advising and making community decisions over our community associations.  Anyway, I have at least two more school posts in me in the near future but today I am back in County government.

I am going to tread very lightly on this post and try to be careful with my words.  Here is the forewarning, I am talking about a person and I am talking about who he is not what he has done.  All right, let the tiptoeing begin.

During the early days of the Ulman administration and then again shortly after his re-election there were some small but noticeable grumblings about Ulman hiring campaign staff and close political allies throughout his administration.  Two criticisms that came with that were the questioning of the qualifications of these hires and some new positions created for these hires.  Now a few months into the Kittleman administration he has done precisely the same thing.  Most of the non-department head appointments were given to campaign workers or close political allies.  There has been some buzz about qualifications for a few and at least one new position created (Press Secretary)[1] and one long defunct position re-instituted (Labor Relations Coordinator)[2]. 

I could take this time to call into question the qualifications of some of the new appointees but that would be, in my opinion, inappropriate.  Not because I don’t have legitimate questions about some of them but because the assessment of their qualifications is and should be the sole discretion of the Executive.  His performance will be assessed largely on the work of his staff.  It is way too early to assess how any are doing but when that time comes the answer will be given with an assessment on how the Executive is doing and therefore his call without question even from critics like me.

That being said, there is one hire that, at the very least raises an eyebrow.  In January, this article explained that Kittleman hired his Brother-in-law, Tom Yeatts, as a “technology consultant.”  I don’t actually know what technology consultant was supposed to mean but fairly quickly thereafter it became Deputy Director of Technology and Communication Services.   Mr. Yeatts had been, most recently a realtor though he had run a software company before that.  Again, I should state that it is not my attention to question the qualifications of Mr. Yeatts or any appointee.  However, despite the fact that Kittleman hired his own brother-in-law in what I presume is a transparent way[3], transparency does not inherently mean it was advisable or appropriate.  Hiring close political allies into the government is one thing.  Hiring your own family is very much another. 

[1] The Communications Office of the Executive now has a Communications Director, a Press Secretary, and an Administrator (the traditional head of this office). 
[2] An Ulman Administration holdover filled the Labor Relations Coordinator position.
[3] The Sun obviously knew quickly enough to report on it as soon as he was hired so I presume it was because the administration mentioned he was Kittleman’s brother in law from the onset.

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