Today’s Herald Leader has a perfect example of why the public and politicians dismiss half of what the read as “news” in their morning paper.
The headline read:
“Employee groups rally to keep politics out of merit system”
“FRANKFORT - Representatives of six state employee groups yesterday urged Gov. Ernie Fletcher's task force on the merit system to keep politics out of the state's hiring system.”
So what’s wrong with the story?
The last time I checked the American Civil Liberties Union, Common Cause, Change for Kentucky and the NAACP were not just state employee groups. None of these groups are mentioned in the Herald Leader story, but representatives of the groups spoke along side the Kentucky Association of State Employees, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the AFL-CIO to take Ernie Fletcher to task. The one group not taking Ernie to task and conspicuous by its absence, was the Kentucky Democratic Party.
This was not just a rally of state employee union groups; it was a rally calling for honest, open government. Something “the buck stops here and I’ll take the 5th” Ernie doesn’t understand.
The real point being made yesterday was that the Fletcher administration had made a statement on how workers can and should be treated. The statement applies to every working person in this state, regardless of whether that person is a union or non-union employee, and regardless of whether that employee works in the public or private sector.
The Fletcher’s statement is clear; this administration sees no value in the rights of individual employees in Kentucky. The employer can do what he wants to the employee regardless of the law, whether that employee works for the Transportation Cabinet, Wal-Mart or in a coal mine.
The administrations response to the call for open government was best summed up by Fletcher Administration PR Flak, Carla Blanton:
From the Courier Journal:
“Blanton dismissed rally participants as being from a "handful of special interest groups." She said they are working with Attorney General Greg Stumbo, whose office is leading the investigation.
"They're more interested in political theater than they are in the issues that will move the state forward," Blanton said.”
So what did we learn from today’s newspapers?
The Fletcher administration continues to be arrogantly contemptuous of the public’s right to know and the Herald Leader reporting and editing staff needs a refresher course in basic reporting.
A more accurate account of the story can be found here.