Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Ferrell Fiasco and the Boy Blunder

The Fred Ferrell Flap here in Missouri is a convoluted, sorry tale, and you damn near need a program to follow along, but let’s take the nickel tour.

Fred Ferrell is was Secretary of Agriculture in the Blunt Administration until last week. He was also charged with sexual harassment in May.

Ferrell wasn’t asked to resign, instead they tried to “settle the matter privately” which we all know translates to “buy off the victim to shut her up.” We know the M.O. (If I didn’t live in State Senate 10, I’d be a Live Action News feature, I am afraid.)

The Blunt administration not only kept a sexual harasser suckling at the state teat, they planned to use funds from a state equipment fund to buy her silence. Oh – and they were going to let Ferrell slide on the ten large he was supposed to pony over for being a miscreant letch. The Columbia Tribune political blog has a pretty decent rundown of the whole sordid mess.

March 01, 2007

The $10,000 question

One aspect conspicuously absent from Gov. Matt Blunt’s letter to then-Agriculture Department director Fred Ferrell was a $10,000 levy supposedly required of the Charleston native.

Last week, Blunt spokeswoman Jessica Robinson said Ferrell was required to apologize, undergo 20 hours of sensitivity training and pay $10,000 toward a settlement with Heather Elder, a former Agriculture Department employee.

Nowhere in the letter that was released to the press yesterday does it state that Ferrell needed to contribute $10,000 in order to keep his job.

From the AP:

Blunt's May letter made no mention of reaching a settlement with Elder, nor of a previously cited requirement by Blunt that Ferrell pay $10,000 toward her legal fees. That's because those details arose later, said Kurt Schaefer, a Department of Natural Resources attorney picked by Blunt to act as a special counsel for the matter.

A press release from the Missouri Democratic Party noted the absence of the $10,000 fine in Blunt’s letter to Ferrell.

“Blunt has also recently claimed that he reinstated Fred Ferrell in May, in part, because he required him to pay a $10,000 fine,” the release says. “However, a letter co-signed by Blunt and Ferrell at the time never mentions the fine. It remains unclear when Ferrell paid the fine. Democrats question whether the fine was originally part of Ferrell’s reinstatement or merely another part of this cover up.”

You can read the whole letter here.

Filed under: Blunt , State Politics

Posted by Jason Rosenbaum at 02:39 PM

It’s been common knowledge that Blunt is in a job he is ill suited for – for starters, he is 14 – and he won’t be Governor come January 2009. Sarah Steeleman, the Republican State Treasurer declared her intent to challenge him in the 2008 Republican primary during his inaugural address in January 2005.

His imported bride turned her nose up at the Governor’s Mansion, and instead the governor commutes from Springfield to Jefferson City in a six-Suburban convoy. There are questions about how he affords the Springfield digs on his salary.

He tried to kill First Steps, which was the one program that could have been held up as an example of “THIS is what a government program done right looks like.”

Last night on Kansas City Week In Review, which airs right after Washington Week on KCPT (one of the best damned PBS affiliates in the country, in my opinion, and I’ve lived damn near everywhere) some of the chattering class speculated that he might not even run for reelection.

It is damned near a foregone conclusion that the Democratic Attorney General Jay Nixon will be the governor two years hence. We have a history in this state of electing our Attorneys General to the Governor’s Mansion. Both John Ashcroft and William Webster took that path to the office of Governor in recent political history.

Blunt has done a sorry-assed and decidedly undistinguished job as Governor, and his administration has been one ling series of PR gaffes. But it had long since stopped being funny by this time in 2005.

January 2009 can’t get here fast enough.

[originally posted at Watching Those We Chose]


bigcat said...

It’s been common knowledge that Blunt is in a job he is ill suited for – for starters, he is 14 – and he won’t be Governor come January 2009.

Is that his age, or IQ?

Blue Girl, Red State said...