Thursday, January 20, 2011

BUTLER COUNTY: Shadow Government Fallout and What's Next

While it made the headline, the actualy content regarding the esprit de corps among Butler County's workers is an important story that gets somewhat buried in the re-telling of what we already know in this Michael Pitman article.  So allow me to highlight it one more time here:
[M]any county employees were waiting for the next shoe to drop.

“Everyone’s waiting for the rest of it,” said one county employee who asked to remain anonymous.
“What’s going to happen next?” another county worker said, before adding that employees “are not surprised by anything much anymore.”
The mood at the Government Services Center in downtown Hamilton on Wednesday was somber. County employees, who did not want to be named out of concern for their jobs, expressed shock, anger, bewilderment and disbelief that Commissioners Don Dixon and Cindy Carpenter were having private meetings and discussions about firing, demoting and replacing top administrators.
My own e-mailbox can concur with Pitman's reporting here as several of my sources (and a few new ones) checked in with similar expressions of sentiment.

This is one of those side effects of running government like it is a play thing.  Real people get hurt.  Dedicated employees who have been loyal to the community start wondering whether or not their jobs are on the line next and I'm not talking about budget cuts.  These stories highlight the political manuevering intended to deliver messages and for those keeping score at home, it shines a light on those who think they are powerful enough to do whatever they want.

I keep hearing Commissioner Furmon remarking that this story illustrated a very high level of arrogance.  I would go so far as to call it hubris.  Dixon and Carpenter have done far more damage than they realize.  They have wounded the morale of the very people they are supposed to be leading.  Dixon said he wanted to work on leading "a little more pronounced” but I would settle for actual leadership based on principles and values rather than the power struggles we've been enduring the last few years.

So...what's next?  The Butler County Republican Party has to replace the county prosecutor since Robin Piper was elected to the 12th District Court of Appeals.

I was discussing this with a veteran Butler County politico yesterday and I think that this is going to come down to who does the better job in the presentation to the Central Committee.  My gut tells me that Gmoser is probably edging Philabaum right now, but only because Philabaum (like Wyrick in the Clerk appointment race) thinks he's running a nomination campaign for an election rather than using a strategy geared towards the appointment process.

The appointment process is all about finding the right candidate who can do the job professionally right after being sworn in.  Typically, experience and professionalism trumps politics and electibilty.  Not always, but usually...  The Central Committee has an excellent track record in making these appointments and I fully expect that whomever gets the nod will do an excellent job.