Let’s pour one out for Larry Novins, who just resigned as executive director of the Vermont State Ethics Commission. He earns full credit for lasting almost three years in a job with no resources, no power, and no real reason for existing besides allowing the Legislature to look like it gives a good goddamn about ethics.
Which, in reality, it doesn’t. Shame on all of ’em.
Novins’ departure was noted in a press release from the commission, which prompted absolutely zero coverage from the political press. It’s too bad, because he did his level best in service of a hopeless, thankless cause. That would be “governmental ethics in Vermont.” Nobody cares, man. Nobody cares.
The Ethics Commission has had a brief and undistinguished history, by design. It has managed to cling to existence despite the fact that it was clearly designed to fail, Norquist style. Its single accomplishment prompted a tsunami of negative reaction, and was ultimately scrubbed from the books.
And one other thing. All of the Commission’s work — all of it — is exempt from public records and open meetings law. If they did ever do anything, we wouldn’t know about it.
In case you think I’m exaggerating, here’s what Novins himself said in September 2019:Continue reading