Friday, January 18, 2008

Humor in the Gazette

It's nice to see that Mike Dennison has a sense of humor in his reporting. Dennison quotes former state Rep. Kevin Furey, D-Missoula, who protests that he didn't get his new state job because of knowing the right people:

Furey said he didn't get hired because of political connections and that he had applied for numerous other state jobs before getting this one. "This was the only one that I was even offered," he said.

In the very next sentence, the last of the article, Dennison does what a good reporter does -- just tells the facts:

Furey is married to Sarah Elliott, who is communications director for Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

We have part of the new Democratic guard, such as Sen. Jon Tester, claiming to take ethical standards to new heights in Montana. And then we have old-fashioned political back-scratching using government jobs.

Democrats across the state who want government jobs in Helena should be beating down the doors to run for the legislature -- its the new revolving door.

The sad part of it is that Furey's job is to be an "energy development officer." Missoula, as everyone knows, is a real hotbed of energy development.

Perhaps we're missing something here, but wouldn't a good energy development officer be someone with experience in energy development? Maybe Furey has such experience, but if so, it's a well-kept secret. We find it hard to believe that Furey is the most qualified person for such a task that the executive branch could find.

But then, given that virtually nothing has been done by this executive branch to promote energy development in Montana over the last 4 years, Furey will fit right in.

Oh, yes, a little wind energy development has happened (with interesting ownership connections, it seems,) and that's great. If only we could set up some thermo-sensitive turbines just outside of Helena to harness all the hot air being expended, talking about energy development -- now then we'd maybe be getting somewhere.

We will have to wait for a Gov. Roy Brown before Montana can start to realize some of our energy revenue potential that has the coffers of states like North Dakota and Wyoming over-flowing.


Anonymous said...

Maybe Dennison will re-write and update the story about Max Baucus going to the right with his votes the last couple of years before his election. He did a story about it when he worked for the Great Falls Tribune a few years ago. It was a very telling story and showed how Max plays the voters.

Montana Headlines said...

If you can find a link to the old story, send it our way.

Anonymous said...

I remember this issue coming up in the past but not getting much attention. Out of curiosity, I went and looked at the ratings for Max at the American Conservative Union web site ( ... you can also find the liberal version, done by the Americans for Democratic Action, at I remember looking at them in the past and they track each other pretty well. That is, in a year when one would give Max a rating of 20, the other would rate him an 80.

Anyway, in taking a quick look at the conservative union ratings, here are the ones for Max that start at 2005 and go back to 1995 (with election years of 1996 and 2002):

24; 29;20; 28; 27; 16; 4; 5; 4; 20; 13.

So his conservative ratings were higher around election time of 1996, then dipped considerably after that election. As the 2002 election approached, his conservative rating climbed considerably again. It dipped a bit after the election, but this time didn't dip as much. The site didn't have more recent ratings.

I didn't have time to go back and look at earlier ratings, but I'm pretty sure the same pattern has always been there.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the press will do more on this state employee story. Folks I have talked to who tried to get state jobs have said there is a lot of competition and it is a tough process with a lot of rules.

Yet somehow these Dem legislators -- and I know there are some other party people too -- always seem to be determined the most qualified people for the jobs, even when there are other people who work in the dept. where the job is and they don't.

I vaguely recalled taht this issue came up in another state, so I did a little research and found my memory was right. A couple months ago the governor of Kentucky, Ernie Fletcher, lost in a big upset , mostly because the voters got fed up with his putting political cronies in state merit based jobs.

I don't know if Montana voters would react the same way; I guess first they would have t know it is happening. Be interesting to see if the press follows up by not just telling us who is getting these job, but how they are getting them. After all, that is THEIR job, isn't it?

Montana Headlines said...

One would think that it would be worth looking into this whole question of Dems getting these merit-based jobs.

If there's a story there, it would be a big story that would sell a lot of newspapers and win awards for the investigative journalists who did the leg-work.

It probably has to start with someone who didn't get a job because a politically connected but less-qualified Dem got it instead. That person would have to go to th press, file a lawsuit, or both.

Anonymous said...

How about the legislators with state jobs who get nice little paid leaves to go to the session and lobby for them? I believe teachers get the differential between their regular and legis pay.

Of course, they have halos around their head, nothing to see here, move along...