Saturday Open Thread [12.21.13]

Filed in Open Thread by on December 21, 2013

As pointed out in the open thread last night, the Deputy State Treasurer has been denied her request to return to a Merit job following her medical leave and resignation from the Department of the Treasury. So we have an employee of the Treasury who resigned her office, but took a medical leave to deal with an unnamed situation, who is back in the office now (doing what?) and is now told by OMB that she will not be allowed to return to the merit system. And of course, Chip Flowers is still pointing fingers (at the OMB) and is now threatening them:

“I am very concerned that the OMB continues to publicly talk about personnel matters, which clearly violates the state’s privacy and confidentiality policies,” Flowers said. “While I recognize that Director Visalli and the staff of OMB, if the state gets sued, would not have to write a personal check, I think it’s egregious they’re willing to put taxpayers on the hook for a large lawsuit just to cover their you-know-whats in public.”

Odd, since the OMB only closed the loop on the very public question on whether or not Benner would return to the merit system. They haven’t release the details of why their investigation led them this way or why Benner was on leave. How can this be such a mess? Did she resign or did she not? And if she didn’t resign, why is she still in the office? There may, in fact, be perfectly reasonable reasons for this — but he needs to say that instead of blaming the OMB (AGAIN) for clear mismanagement on his part.

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled that Utah’s ban on gay marriage (theirs was approved by voters in a referendum) is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Gay couples are rushing to get married, which I hope means that they and their families are having a very joyous Christmas, indeed. Interesting note — Judge Shelby is an Obama appointee, also approved by Senator Orrin Hatch.

Alex Parreene over at Salon has finished the 2013 edition of the Hack List — this year’s version is especially hysterical since Alex tried to summarize why each belongs on the Hack List by channelling each entry’s writing style. Seriously, go take a look at the 2013 Hack List winners. I laughed through most of them — my favorites being the Buzzfeed guy, David Brooks, Halperin and Heilemann (is there a Hack List Hall of Fame?), Peggy Noonan.

This sign cracks me up:

Keep Saturn in Saturnalia

Completely harmless, yet has been subject to two defacement attempts — one by a SANTA, of all things and the other by two people tossing gasoline on the sign and trying to light it up. Any bets that these might be the same people haranguing people about saying Merry Christmas or insisting on religious displays in public spaces?

Hope most of your Christmas prep is done. All that is left for me is packing and getting my annual Wine Cure started.


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"You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas." -Shirley Chisholm

Comments (15)

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  1. Joanne Christian says:

    And on lighter news, but of course involving bank scandal…….

    In case you missed it on TV last night…..

    It’s A Wonderful Life–on the BIG screen

    Everett Theatre
    Main Street (why not)
    Middletown (why not) Delaware
    7:30 pm tonite

    ALL SEATS 5 bucks (why not)

    And this historic theatre is run by volunteers, and only kept going by your attendance to any event. Oh, and there is an organist playing live music, before the movie rolls out. Step back into time. Junior Mints at the concession stand :).

  2. Gemma says:

    I think the real fireworks are going to begin in the Flowers office. He complained about how long the OMB decision was taking, now he is complaining about the decision. He now has to decide whether or not to fire her. She already resigned, yet still works there. If he does fire her, will she turn that office upside down? We haven’t heard anything from Ms. Benner.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why is Chip concerned over personell matters? Wasn’t it Chip that first told the media that she had resigned, had an addiction, was on medical leave? If that isn’t personal info, I don’t know what is.

  4. puck says:

    Why would he fire the one person who will never fail to document expenses again?

  5. Well, she quit, so it wouldn’t exactly be like he’s firing her.

  6. Nuttingham says:

    Chip is used to being the smartest person in the room, and he often is. But his flaw is that he also seems to think he’s the most clever person in the room and that had proven time again to be false.

  7. Turk 184 says:

    “But his flaw is that he also seems to think he’s the most clever person in the room and that had proven time again to be false.”


  8. Nuttingham says:

    You disagree?

    Can you point to a single point along this process that he hasn’t made worse for himself by doing what seemed clever?

    Even the very beginning of all of this where he decided to look and talk tough by accepting her resignation … but was then shocked that OMB didn’t just say yes when he demanded the same day that they find her a merit job.

    Or when he claimed on WDEL that he couldn’t explain who he or she met with in Alaska because that knowledge would roil the stock markets and open up the state to lawsuits?

    Or when he tried to pin everything on her as a way to move forward, which just raised questions about him?

    Or when he attacked a state legislator on this blog thinking that going on offense would shut everything down and was shocked when people responded?

    Or when he got NBC10 involved as a way to trash the News Journal, which only led to the photos of Alaska being shown on multiple newscasts? (And seemed shocked when the NJ did a follow up to prove their research).

    Or when he decided instead of putting out his own documents to put out a scathing Friday night hit on other agencies instead – and was then shocked when those agencies responded?

    There’s at least a dozen moments, comments or decisions along the way that could have ended everything months earlier if the answer had simply been “yeah, I’m called out on this one. Ooops.”

  9. Turk 184 says:

    Dude – Chill. I was saying that I liked the comment. Nice summary though……

  10. MHS says:

    When will the 62 Project resume? I was looking forward to reading the rest of the ranking before the legislative session started, any chance that will still happen?

    On the above regarding Flowers – I agree with Nuttingham above, this story could have been over if he had just admitted that yes, proper procedures were not followed, issue addressed, won’t happen again. Admit fault, move on…this constant need to place the blame on someone else is nauseating and I think the worst part was when he decided to place the blame on someone that has been there for, I believe close to if not over 30 years, who had worked for several State Treasurers before him and never had problems with travel or credit card accounting, he placed the blame multiple times on that person and no one seemed to bat an eye – to me that was cowardice – own your own mistakes and missteps, don’t deflect and place the blame or try to redirect the question elsewhere. It showed real immaturity and yes, narcissism on his part.

  11. John Manifold says:

    Chip shows again that he speaks first, thinks later. There was nothing improper about the disclosure of determination of an employee’s status. Indeed, that’s public record.

  12. Jason330 says:

    I love the “Keep the Saturn in Saturnalia” billboard. Kudos, and a belated Merry Solstice to you

  13. MHS, no chance that it’ll be done before the General Assembly reconvenes.

    Each profile takes longer to research than I’d expected. And I now understand that many of the people reading it aren’t all that familiar with the legislators, so I feel like I should bring them up to speed.

    I’ve set a new and, I think, realistic goal, for completing the series. I’d like to finish up just around the time that the Joint Finance Committee finishes up their hearings, which would be mid-March or so.

    I really appreciate your following of the series. As Rich Kotite might say, I’m not leaving anything in the locker room…

  14. Truth Teller says:

    When is AG Biden going to have these crooks arrested for misuse of TAXPAYERS MONIES?????? Bank robbers when caught just can’t return the money they stole and walk away free so why do we allow political hacks to do it in all levels of government???

  15. Geezer says:

    If anyone in state govt is familiar with behavior that’s egregious, it’s Chip.