If you want to know so bad why don't you just ask your friend? I trust what my former co-worker said.
I did. He says he isn't related to the guy. I thought that pretty obvious from ALL the other information out there. Given the PIngree situation, and the many other instances of family within Maine Gov., and the general absence of State law forbidding nepotism, it wouldn't have been a problem in any event.
PS: Even under PROPOSED anti-nepotism laws, being some kind of cousin wouldn't be a ban.
An Act To Prohibit a Person from Being Hired in a School Administrative Unit in a Position for Which a Relative Serves in a Supervisory Capacity
(Proposed law) Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:
Sec. 1. 20-A MRSA §1005 is enacted to read:
§ 1005. Hiring family members prohibited
A person may not be hired as an employee, as defined in section 1002, subsection 1, paragraph A, of a school administrative unit for a position for which that person's spouse, child, parent or sibling or the spouse of the person's child or sibling serves in a supervisory capacity with respect to the person.
That's why I fail to see that it should have been a big deal EVEN IF TRUE!!
Nice work, thejohnchapman. I'll let you know when the rest of the true story for these political games has been uncovered.
The true story? You've uncorked three complaints:
1) Hiring a person without a bunch of Tourism experience to do that job.
Reaction of those here (including Dan Billings, who is no political ally of John's) is that you are right that she didn't have tourism experience, regardless of whether it was JR or John B who took point on the hiring.
2) Richardson didn't go after MSEA on dues checkoff
Reaction: Again, TRUE. He did not consider it the primary mission of his agency to do so. Probably didn't even lift a finger in that direction, I'd wager. My personal judgment as a labor lawyer familiar with the MLRB is that it would have been a REAL gaffe for him to have done what you wanted him to do, but your description of his nonaction is accurate.
3) Hired a "relative by marriage", Jimmy Cook
That is the only one you've come up false on. However, even if TRUE, not a problem under Maine law. Not sure why anyone would bother complaining about that, unless, as other posters suggest, you have some agenda unrelated to that.
I'd suggest you evaluate the relevance of your complaints in light of the reactions of those here who are his political OPPONENTS. I am his friend. My opinion is therefore biased. Billings' reaction isn't.
I see the tipping point of his campaign to be his accomplishments at DECD. You are focusing on what everybody else here seems to view as ethical nonissues.
Richardson's campaign has been deathly silent... has he quit the race already?
thejohnchapman, Would you happen to know if Mr. Richardson has any of those infamous cuban cigars left from his "trade mission" there? Hmmmm, I wonder why the media never looked into that "gift" for DECD's past commissioner...
As you may recall --> http://mainefamilypolicycouncil.com/artman2/uploads/1/Richardson_and_Cas...
thejohnchapman, Do you have an answer on the last question about Richardson's cuban cigars?
What do you do with those things?
thejohnchapman, Do you have an answer about your friend's cuban cigars from that so-called "trade mission" with the DECD? The public deserves to know...
I don't recall ever seeing John smoke anything, ever. The last time I saw him(at the Theater Project in Brunswick this past winter), he neither discussed cigars nor smelled of smoke.
If you have some information I do not that suggests some illegality on his part, I suggest you contact Janet Mills or Paula Silsby. If,on the other hand, you are a "disgruntled former employee", then carry on as you have been.
BTW, it seems Baldacci was the prime instigator of the trade mission. You neglected to post the big group shot.
I wonder what would hav happened to Richardson's job if he had told his boss: "I'm not going to go to Cuba with you, and I'm going to frustrate any attempt you make to have this trip be a success." You don't care about that hypothetical outcome, because you dislike John -- in a particularly obsessed way.
I suspect that the feds knew he was in Cuba, due to the press releases. They haven't taken any action. Probably they agreed that the visit was fitting. After all, Cuba and Maine are both Socialist third World people's republics.
Now, just on a whim, I inquired if trade actually was discussed: http://havanajournal.com/business/entry/maine_governor_john_baldacci_sho...
"Alimport, Cuba’s food import company, agreed Sunday to buy Maine products worth $20 million by the end of July 2007. Sunday’s agreement, signed by Baldacci and Alimport chief Pedro Alvarez, includes a preliminary export agreement of $10 million Alimport signed with the state of Maine a year ago."
Mark, in a backhanded way, you have helped me unearth the very first evidence presented in public of John Richardson doing something concrete to create jobs in Maine. I frankly had been concerned that he had NO resume on the point. Apparently, with Baldy, he traveled to the land of Che, Rum and Cigars to land a $20 mil deal for the grand State o' Maine.
Did Fidel do his part? I have no idea. If he did, good for John's campaign. If not, not so good.
thejohnchapman wrote: This "Jimmy Cook" thing is getting silly.
On that note, there's a great new AMG thread about today's LSJ article (linked HERE) which sheds more light on Richardson's BAD decision in hiring Jimmy Cook. IMHO, Richardson is not qualified to be Governor of Maine unless you want more of-the-same.
Your words - you alleged Jimmy Cook was a RELATIVE of Richardson.
I looked through the article, but could find no mention of his relative status.
I saw that Cook was a "FOB" (Baldacci)
"Cook’s first job in state government was with Baldacci"
The article quoted Baldacci's chief of staff in analysis of Cook's qualifications (or lack of same).
It then stated (and I believe accurately):
"When that job was over, the governor’s office made the call to DECD and Cook became an acting project development officer at the agency where Baldacci had just made Richardson commissioner."
Baldacci is not running in this race. It sounds like one guy who worked for Baldacci was told to hire another who already worked for him. That is probably accurate. Richardson got his job from, and served at the pleasure of the Gov.
It is notable that JR didn't defend his qualifications -- or lack of same. Hence the temporary appointment.
Mark, you have made a great case about why we shouldn't vote for Baldacci to be our next Governor. Moreover, I have heard from many how vengeful our soon-to-be ex gov. can be.
Hypothetical: Whaddya think would have happened if JR had told JB "I'm not going to hire your political hack friend on even a temp basis"?
Hypothetical: Once forced to hire the political hack, if JR had assigned the (admittedly) UNQUALIFIED hack to do something important, and he'd screwed it up, what would your criticism of that have consisted of?
Now -- what about this relative business?
As previously explained, a co-worked told me that Cook was related to Richardson and I believed that person... in fact I still believe it might be true. Since you are a "friend" of Richardson, I'm sure you will never believe the realities of what took place at DECD under your buddy's leadership. The political games which have been played by politicians on both sides of the aisle are a disgrace to our country... and the extreme liberals have done major damage here in Maine. IMO, the hiring and rotation of Jimmy Cook between those positions is but one example of how crooked and wasteful the Maine system has become. Just because "it's part of Augusta" doesn't mean the taxpayers deserve to keep getting screwed by the political hacks.
"Since you are a "friend" of Richardson, I'm sure you will never believe the realities of what took place at DECD under your buddy's leadership."
I think I've gone on record as buying into most of what the article said. John Richardson and Jimmy Cook started the same day. The article paints a picture of someone who was:
-- Put into his job by Baldacci, working under an appointee who couldn't refuse
-- Relatively unqualified
Baldacci is obviously the "boss of" Richardson. Richardson did NOT have Cook do very much of importance
-- Nobody can point to a significant failure by Cook, probably because he was put in charge of auto maintenence and keeping organized labor off the back of the DECD. In short, having inherited an unqualified political hack, Richardson wouldn't give him anything he could screw up.
Have I missed something?
It sounds like the only thing you've missed is the fact that DECD also rearranged desk/cube assignments and placed Jimmy Cook right outside the office of Richardson... but I'm sure that is just another coincidence which has happened a lot with folks like Baldacci and Richardson.
So Jimmy gets a "cube", not an office, and is put where he is handy to get coffee and the car, and can be watched easily. Ok. Sounds consistent with the Article's assessment of his "qualifications" to occupy a temp position.
You should do your homework before making a comment like that. If you look at the DECD payroll (www.MaineOpenGov.org) and compare it with the department's floorplan, you will realize that people earning over $100,000 at DECD are stuck in cubeland.
So EVERYBODY gets a cube -- and this is . . . . a floorplan issue? WOW -- this is New York Times stuff.
According to the article in this thread, Cook made $142,876 in salary and benefits in four different jobs over 19 months in 2007-08. Must be nice making that much for fetching coffee and having the auto serviced.
Anybody who condoned and participated in that kind of tax-dollar waste (no matter 'why' they felt they 'had to') is somebody who will not be getting a vote from me.
From Richardson's press release in the first post on this thread:
My campaign is about improving Maine’s economy, making it easier to go about daily life, making it easier to find work and be rewarded for it.
Especially for Baldaccio's favored pals.
As another attorney on AMG often reminds us, there's illegal, and there's unethical. Or sleazy.
TJC is busy being a lawyer defending his friend.
He's doing his attorney thing, and will claim the high road in doing so.
That accounts for about 10% of the real issues in such matters. And TJC is smart enough to know that, even if it doesn't fit his stance in this situation.
Melvin - understood.
OTOH, the absolute dead-last thing we need is another political hack-supporter in the Blaine House.
If even half the allegations of Richardson's cronyism and go-along-get-along actions alleged in the Christie article are true, fageddaboutit.
Naran and Mark:
Any doubts that John Baldacci had absolute power to tell Richardson what to do, so long as it is not outright illegal? Tell me why it would make political sense for Richardson to fire the guy hired by HIS BOSS to start the same day as him. If one wants to kamakazi one's career, that would be the absolute best way to do it.
I suppose the alternative is to not take the job at all. In that event, the next guy up to the plate gets (you guessed it) Jimmy Cook outside HIS office. Same salary. Moreover, the next guy might actually give him something important to do.
Look, this starts out with the allegation that Cook is RELATED to Richardson. That is an allegation that is UNTRUE. Round one goes to Richardson.
So the next allegation is that Richardson does not immediately fire the guy that was hired the same day as him, by HIS BOSS. Instead, according to the reports I have read, he has Cook become a glorified team water boy, because Cook was (according to everybody) UNqualified. ALL that stuff is true.
So far, in the post "relative" stuff, you have PROVEN that Baldacci hired BOTH Richardson AND Cook. You have PROVEN that Cook was pretty unqualified. You have PROVEN that Richardson didn't give the unqualified guy anything important to do, and also that the UNQUALIFIED Cook was paid too much.
You have also PROVEN that Cook was given a cubicle right outside Richardson's door -- or at least, I'm willing to accept that it is probably true, because you worked there.
Have I missed anything?
Oh yeah - you don't like Richardson, and I do. I admit that I am his friend. Do you admit that you are his enemy?
PS to Naran:
I noted that $25 K of his salary (Cook's) was as "Governor's Special Assistant". The 2007-8 salary from DECD was $70, 514. That's over about two years. The lavish state bennies make the two year total come up to $108 K. That's about 59 and change per year.
What do "Clerk Typist III" employees make?
Cameron, Betty L, of IFW, made $44,409 in 2006 as a clerk typist III. Her salary plus benefits in 2007 was $58,144 as an Office associate II. http://www.maineopengov.org/Payroll/StatePayrollSearch/tabid/63/Default....
She is at the top, and IS qualified to occupy the position.
Tammy Cook of the Workers Comp Board earned $70,683 last year. If we want to do apples and apples, in 2007, Linda Larrabee of the WCB, a Clerk IV, earned $62,961. Linda did a good job. She certainly deserved to earn more than Jimmy Cook, even though he was a "Governor's Special Assistant".
TJC - I read and understand that you like Richardson. No problem. BTW, my concern has zero to do with whether Cook was related to anybody who hired him or that he worked with. That doesn't seem to be a large issue in this instance.
Cook's salary in relation to others of similar employment rank is also irrelevant. What is relevant is that he never would have had the job without Baldacci's intervention, and clearly, Richardson took his marching orders from Baldacci. That's what's not okay.
It isn't good enough to say "if Richardson hadn't done it, some other guy would have done it."
It's not okay to see wrong done, and go along to get along, and to do it for years. You know that as well as I do. If you didn't know Richardson and weren't fond of him on a personal level, I think you'd be writing the same thing.
Somewhere along the way, he could have had a serious talk with somebody, and made sure the taxpayers' dollars stopped being wasted. Or he could have walked.
That he allowed it to continue under his watch says volumes.
He would not only have had to walk, he would have had to not take the job in the first place. Still, if that is a moral mandate for you, I cannot argue with that.
More lawyerly posturing.
I'm sure TJC knows JR to be an ethical, selfless, and sacrificial public servant and family man.
What I know cancels out TJC's endorsement, and more.
And no, I am not his friend. So my view is actually more objective.
John: Did you miss the suggestion that Cook was effectively Richardson's driver? Did you miss the suggestion that he did not do the work that would be expected based on his position? I get your point about the hiring, but Richardson could have made him do the job he was hired for.
I missed NONE of it. I embraced it. I have assumed that the article was correct -- that Cook was an unqualified political hack.
So what part of the state economy do we put in his unqualified care? If he'd been forced on DOT, what bridges would you have him inspect and certify?
Primum non nocere.