Okay, Governor Kitzhaber, cutting you some slack, we can agree that Oregon is no New Jersey. However, the differences are not flattering for you. After all, while New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie rules by heavy-handed commission you take a quieter path and try to avoid fault for failures by omission. Meanwhile, he’s a boisterous bully while you do your dirty work behind the scenes; yet, your results are no less destructive than his by way of the number of people you both hurt.
To employ a fancy Harvard Business School descriptor, Mr. Kitzhaber, your management skills stink. You championed for years the idea that we’d have a working online healthcare marketplace in Oregon through your re-election. To the contrary, we have a monumental disaster for which you keep saying you are not responsible when, in fact, if you’d been doing your job and managing the people you appointed to head Cover Oregon, it could be working rather than having a shockingly high-priced engine without spark plugs.
Then there’s the Employment Department. It spent millions on a computer software program that lingered for years without so much as a just-wait-a-minute-here message from you to stop the money-wasting foolery. How long was this matter to fester before you did anything? In fact, it was others who blew the whistle and actually forced your hand to take action while technology incompetency there and decadent rule by neptotism was like a plague of cockroaches.
For another example of your lack of management knowledge, skill and ability, there’s the education reform you promised by Rudy Crew who you hired and placed in charge and by which he was given a $280,000 vacation at Oregon taxpayer expense. And you haven’t uttered even one word of apology regarding this unproductive person whose reputation for disappointing was well known from elsewhere, a guy under contract who ran around the country for speaking fees, promoting his future job prospects. Where were you for the entire year Crew did nothing? Is Archimedes to blame?
We recently learned that your Department of Corrections has so mishandled information about an attempted prison escape that the state Justice Department had to step in to order documents be made public. Again, why is it that an state executive department agency must be set straight by the state’s judicial branch of government? This is truly deplorable management characterized by totally head-shaking misconduct.
Then there’s the millions spent on your favorite bridge project at which the state of Washington legislature has thrown a Bronx cheer. They won’t fund their share of the arguably not-needed and poorly planned “white elephant” but you keep wasting your time and our money, presumably due to ego too large to recognize its defeat when you’ve already been handed your head on an imaginary Columbia River piling that will rot in river bottom muck before it supports a Columbia River Crossing.
Throughout the last four years Oregon has improved in job creation only very marginally, hardly noticeably, and that may be attributed to the number of former working people in this state who’ve left or have given up in what amounts to the poverty-stricken heartbreak of job-search-defeat. Education and infrastructure progress: please show me! Unless an Oregonian resides in Portland and some of its metro area he will look long and hard to see any indication of improvements in the economy and personal lives better off.
John Kitzhaber is best known to me for his efforts to make more personal income through promotion of his Archimedes Movement, aka, health care reform movement, and his betrayal of contractual retirement benefits for former state workers who put 30 years in at relatively low pay, trying to help Oregonians enjoy a good place to live. Alternatively, there’s the GOP’s Dennis Richardson from Central Point, an apparently avowed, dedicated Libertarian and arch-conservative who seeks through implementing those beliefs to end the state government’s social programs.
This place can get even uglier in Oregon’s second decade of the 21st century. Stay tuned!
(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)