Jobs for the Boys (and Girls)

Patricia Moulton just became the latest high-ranking rat to leave the Good Ship Shumlin. The Commerce Secretary, under whose watch the EB-5 scandal went on undetected for years, has herself a soft landing spot as interim president of Vermont Technical College.

Moulton is one of those seemingly unmovable fixtures of Montpelier life — a species that moves effortlessly between government, private sector, and government-related nonprofits. She’s served in the last two administrations, Douglas and Shumlin; and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she turned up in a hypothetical Phil Scott cabinet.

What are her credentials to lead an educational institution? Pish tosh. Who needs relevant experience when you’re one of the cross-partisan In Crowd?

“… I can bring to that institution great knowledge about education and workforce for the state of Vermont,” Moulton said in an interview Thursday.

Well, that’s one way to spin it.

It’s true that some people can truly be jacks of all trades without being a master of none. But the endless hopscotching of the Pat Moultons and Jim Reardons and Jason Gibbses of the world has an odor about it — like a back room with no windows. A hint of B.O., a splash of stale coffee, junk food wrappers in the trash, a faint memory of a transgressive cigarette.

Stale, in a word.

Especially when Moulton departs her troubled tenure at the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, as she says, untroubled by regrets.

“EB-5 has certainly been a challenge, but I think we’ve done the best we can with the tools we have,” she added. “I’m just really proud of the work that the team at ACCD have done, and I know they will carry on. There’s a lot more to do.”

(Cough.)

Pardon me, Madame Secretary, but the EB-5 program friggin’ BLEW UP on your watch. ACCD’s oversight proved to be horrendously lax.

In fairness to Moulton, that laxness was baked into Vermont’s original EB-5 structure, put in place long before she had a sniff of the big chair, and allowed to fester unchallenged. But she certainly did nothing to beef up oversight, even as the storm clouds gathered and thunder was heard in the distance. Eventually, EB-5 regulation had to be snatched away from her agency, which ought to be the ultimate humiliation for an administrator.

No regrets. Really?

Doesn’t speak well of her management insight, her ability to think creatively and face the unexpected.

The Vermont State College system, run by (permanent public fixture parachuted into the educational system) Jeb Spaulding, will launch a national search for a new VTC president. Moulton says she will throw her hat in the ring. What are the odds that the big national search will expensively conclude that there’s nobody out there better than education newbie Pat Moulton?

Spaulding is already greasing the wheels.

He praised Moulton’s “considerable leadership skills, statewide connections with employers and economic development leaders, and passion for Vermont Tech’s future”…

Heck, why bother with a search?

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6 thoughts on “Jobs for the Boys (and Girls)

  1. Faith King

    You nailed it. And there are more names you could add to that group. Folks who float from running large, area nonprofits to being, oh, the commissioner of the relevant department of state government, while maybe another commissioner just floats on back to an executive director job. Then the ‘bored’ commissioners who seemingly tire of work in one area of human services and just glide to running another area (hey, they are all humans, so what’s the diff?) As if that’s not enough, ya’ got the kids of commissioners having the waves part for them…. But it’s Montpelier! These are all ‘delightful’ people, really. What the ‘delightful’ people fail to see is how this happy insider-ism undercuts notions of a dynamic, growing community for everyone else. Scrabbling and elbowing over limited options does not a happy-population-make.

    Reply
  2. Brooke Paige

    John,

    I think you description of a ” back room with no windows. a bold hint of B.O., a splash of stale coffee, junk food wrappers in the trash and the faint scent of transgressive cigarettes” really sums up the citizen’s view of the legacy that Governor Shumlin will leave behind him.

    We’ll see where Pete drops his gal “skating Sue” when she has the inevitable slip and fall during her current performance in the gubernatorial “ice rink.”, Career bureaucrats are really good at finding another bench to sit on (and a paycheck to cash) !

    Brooke

    Reply
    1. John S. Walters Post author

      I’d say the legacy goes back beyond Shumlin. Jim Douglas had his pack of favorites who shuffled around the administration almost at random. My impression is that Vermont government has been an overly clubby institution for a long time.

      Reply
      1. Brooke Paige

        No disagreement here !

        Shumlin, Douglas, Dean, Kunin, . . ., part of the problem is our state government’s short “life cycle” tends not to attract the quality folks that are need to keep the boat on course and so the “great of state” is constantly under the guidance of first mates, second mates and occasionally someone who sneaks up from the purser’s office thinking that because they hand out the cash, they should be allowed to take the wheel.

        “If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the ‘Minnow’ would be lost . . !.”

      2. Mark Trigo

        This goes back farther than Douglas. But one of the biggest poster children for this type of cronyism is Neale Lunderville. The guy was running the Agency of Transportation when he was barely out of diapers.

  3. David Ellenbogen

    If her LinkedIn resume is correct, all she possesses is a BA degree. That is normally not enough to even teach at the college level, let alone serve as a college president (interim or otherwise). Is LinkedIn correct?

    Reply

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