Monday, December 11, 2006

Governing By Appointment

Pataki 11th Hour Appointments Assures That Failed Legacy Will Live On. . . In Some Instances, Well Past Spitzer's First Term

The Governor appoints, the Republican-controlled State Senate confirms, and outgoing Governor, George Pataki, continues to line the shelves with lackies, cronies, and adherents to the old guard, assuring that his policies -- which have not served taxpayers very well during the course of his 12 long years in office -- carry through well into the Spitzer administration.

Sort of like permitting Saddam Hussein to appoint ministers, commissioners, and cabinet members as he makes his way to the gallows (the figurative end for Pataki's political career nearing, dubious aspirations for a presidential run -- don't make us laugh -- notwithstanding).

Sure, the Governor is entitled to make appointments up to 11:59:59 PM on December 31st, but should he? And so many, some of whom will still hold their appointed positions after Eliot Spitzer's first term as Governor has come and gone? We don't think so.

But leave it to Mr. Pataki to pack the courts, State boards, commissions, and other governing bodies, large and small, with allies, a few of whom were booted out of elected office by the voters in November. Hey, what are friends for, after all?

Our colleagues in blogdom at Capitol Confidential point out that, to date, Pataki has made some 400 post-election appointments, many to high-powered, six-figured posts, and there's no end in sight.

The State Senate is set to reconvene shortly -- in special session -- ostensibly to rubber stamp the Pataki appointments, and perhaps, if time permits, to vote themselves pay raises.

Well, at least our legislators are consistent, if nothing else. Merit has little if anything to do with either appointments or pay hikes!

No one questions the governor's right to govern until his term has -- by the good graces of God -- come to an end. That includes making such appointments as may be necessary and prudent for good governance, both for the remainder of his term and during the transition from one chief executive to the next.

That said, to tie the hands of the next administration, in making critical and all too partisan appointments to the likes of the Public Employees Relations Board, MTA, and the Public Service Commission, flies in the face of good government -- let alone government reform -- and gives credence to what many argue has been and continues to be wrong with Albany: that the representation of some 19 million people rests in the hands of only 3 men. [In the case of the Governor's appointments, make that 2 men -- George Pataki and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.]

While Governor-elect Spitzer and his transition team steam on toward Day One -- when, we are promised, Everything Changes -- clearly, some things, including a battalion's worth of Pataki appointees, will not.

New Yorker's will inaugurate a new Governor on January 1. The old one, unfortunately, will still be with us for some time to come.

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