Daily Archives: September 10, 2015

Look who crashed the pickle party

The most likely gubernatorial contenders have all made the same calculation: get in early, or get left out. It’s still 14 months until Decision 2016, but the field grew to five today with the entry of soon-to-be-former Transportation Secretary Sue Minter.

‘Bout time we got a woman in the running, I say. And I don’t mind declaring that, if all else is equal, I’d have a preference for Minter due to the simple fact that women have been woefully absent from the top tiers of Vermont politics.

“If all else is equal” is a huge qualifier, but so far I see the Democrats having three strong candidates of roughly equivalent abilities. If I had to vote today, based on the little that I know now, I’d probably vote for Minter.

Fortunately, I don’t have to vote today.

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TweePR

I heard something on Vermont Public Radio the other day that stopped me in my tracks.

No, it wasn’t one of those famous “driveway moments” that keep you riveted in your seat. It wasn’t a world-shaking news story or a heartrending profile. What it was, was the opening line of a Commentary piece. It struck me as the very essence of VPR distilled into a single sentence. Witness in wonder:

While biking at sunset recently, I stopped for an impromptu visit with a neighbor, relaxing in a lawn chair overlooking her sweeping green meadow – a glass of red wine glowing in her hand.

I heard that, nodded my head, and thought, “Yep, that’s VPR.”

The Bartley Bonanza: Worse than I thought

My previous post chronicled some of the curious spending decisions taken by Your Party of Fiscal Responsibility, the VTGOP. One item was Jeff Bartley’s compensation as Executive Director.

When he was hired last December, his announced salary was said to be $50,000 a year. But according to party filings with the Federal Elections Commission, Bartley had collected $37,516 by the end of June — which works out to something like $75K/year.

But I overlooked one small detail: That $37,000 is Bartley’s net pay — after taxes. Which means his actual salary has to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000, right?

Right.

So, questions for VTGOP Chair David Sunderland: What exactly is Jeff Bartley’s salary? And why is it so much higher than the announced figure?

And questions for other top Republicans: How do you feel about Jeff Bartley taking home so much of the VTGOP’s meager resources? And what kind of ROI do you think you’re getting?

Those with an interest in fiscal responsibility want to know.

More nuggets from the party of fiscal responsibility

Writing my most recent post on the continuing troubles inside the Vermont Republican Party brought me back to a subject I’d been ignoring: the VTGOP’s monthly finance reports to the Federal Elections Commission. Even though the VTGOP is a state party, most of its activities are now classified as “federal” under FEC rules.

The last time I looked over the filings was a few months ago. There have been three new reports since then, and some curiosities emerge after close examination.

Remember when Jeff Bartley was hired as VTGOP Executive Director last December? Them’s was good times.

Bartley was chosen in a last-minute election announced slightly more than 24 hours before the Dec. 1 [state Republican Committee] meeting. Insiders say the decision was rushed to leave no time for other candidates to come forward or for a search process to take place. Bartley was confirmed by a 6-4 vote of executive committee members.

Three of those “No” votes came from prominent conservatives with ties to former party chair Jack Lindley: Mark Snelling, Wendy Wilton, and Randy Brock. After the vote, Snelling resigned as party treasurer.

At the time, VTDigger reported that Bartley would draw an annual salary of $50,000.

Funny thing about that. As of the end of June, according to FEC filings, Bartley had already drawn $37,516 in salary. That projects out to an annual salary of about $75,000.

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