Governor-elect Phil Scott’s first round of appointments came on Thanksgiving Eve. And honestly, the announcement was a touch underwhelming.
Nothing against the four appointees. But c’mon, three members of his transition team and the sole staffer in the Lieutenant Governor’s office? Did it really take three weeks to pluck the lowest-hanging fruit?
Would it be churlish of me to point out that in November 2010, Peter Shumlin had his inner circle in place less than ten days after the election, and had begun to fill out his cabinet by this point? Perhaps, but compared to the last Governor-elect, Phil Scott’s off to a slow start.
(Irony Alert: When Shumlin took office, he made it clear that the single focus of his administration wouild be job creation. It’s deja vu all over again, just like last time.)
Also, it’d be reassuring to see at least one appointee who’s not a member of The Usual Suspects.
In the best political tradition of “ready/fire/aim,” Phil Scott and friends sent out a letter this week accusing the Shumlin administration of playing politics with state jobs. Specifically, of shifting political appointees into permanent state positions. It’s a way to reward your loyalists and extend your influence into putatively non-political areas of government.
The letter was addressed to Human Resources Commissioner Maribeth Spellman, but it was released to the media on the same day it was written. (A sure sign of political motivation.) The letter cites “concerning reports” that the administration is either reclassifying exempt (political) positions into classified (nonpolitical) ones, or creating new classified positions that political appointees could slide into.
It would be a minor scandal if true. Unfortunately, Scott has no concrete evidence, no published reports, and not a single example.
I reached out to Rachel Feldman, Scott’s chief of staff, in search of documentation. This is all I got:
The information comes from a reliable whistleblower within State government.
Okay, well, that’s not much, is it?
Looks like Marco Rubio has belatedly realized his Comic Insult routine was doing him no favors.
JENKS, Okla. — Someone in the rafters shouted: “Donald Trump has small hands!”
“We’re not talking about that today,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in response. “It was fun while it lasted.”
… He still called Trump “a con artist” but there was little talk of the businessman’s small hands, or spray tan, or his large private plane.
Yeah, they had to take the Rubot into the shop for a little reprogramming. Because making jokes about Donald Trump’s spray tan and dick size were making Marco look… eh… just a tad unpresidential.
They were also devastating to Phil Scott’s endorsement of Rubio, which posits the notion that the Florida Senator “can build consensus” and treats “the process with respect” and “has a calming effect.”
Speaking of Phil Scott, he finally issued an official statement about his endorsement. Which, curiously, has not been posted on his website; it was simply sent out to his email list. VPR’s Taylor Dobbs posted it on his Twitter feed; you’ll find it After The Jump.
Last night I had the strangest dream…
VTGOP Reverses Course On Carbon Tax
At a hastily-called news conference at the Statehouse, Republican leaders announced a sudden change of position on climate change: they are endorsing a carbon tax proposal that’s been languishing in the Legislature.
“It’s the right thing to do, and now is the right time,” said Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning.
“We’ve all been kidding ourselves,” added House Minority Leader Don Turner. “But the longer this winter went on, with so little snow and such high temperatures, well, we just couldn’t ignore it anymore.”