Carry water for Kitz, get a ticket on the gravy train

Democratic Rep. Ben Cannon is the latest legislator to take a ride on the government gravy train

by NW Spotlight

During the Legislative session a few months ago, Rep. Ben Cannon voted for an ethics reform bill to set a “waiting period” on legislators before they can seek and obtain non-elected positions in the state’s executive branch. The ethics reform bill passed unanimously out of the House, but then died in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

When it passed out of the House, the bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Tim Freeman, said “This bill sends the message that legislators are committed to serving the public, not to advancing their own careers.” When Ben Cannon actually got the chance to advance his own career, though, he went against his own vote and took Governor Kitzhaber’s job offer to become Education Policy Advisor – at $105,000 a year. That’s quite a pay raise from his $ 21,612 pay as a part-time legislator.

Capitol insiders noted that Cannon reliably “carried water” for the Governor’s education package. Now that the package has been passed and signed by the Governor, Cannon is definitely ending up a very well-rewarded water boy.

Past legislators who jumped on the government gravy train

Ben Cannon is joining three fellow Democratic legislators who jumped on the same government gravy train last session.

1. Sen. Margaret Carter, D-Portland, announced in August 2009 that she would take a new $121,872-a-year position as a deputy director in the Department of Human Services.  Sen. Carter had served as chairwoman of the Human Services Ways & Means budget subcommittee.

2. Also in August 2009, Rep. Larry Galizio, D-Tigard, was named to a policy job in the state Department of Higher Education at $95,380 a year.

3. Sen. Vicki Walker, D-Eugene, was appointed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski in July 2009 to head the state parole board at $97,020 a year.

PERS advantage on top of big pay increases – besides the pay jumps from their $21,612 a year pay as a part-time legislators, these lucky Dems will also get to leverage their years of legislative service with their new salaries to produce higher pensions. This was especially true for Carter, who had 24 years in the Legislature, and who can now fold her much higher DHS salary into her PERS pension calculation.

For more background on Oregon legislators taking high-paying state jobs, here’s a link to an 8/25/2011 radio interview with Bruce McCain on The Bill Post Radio Show.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Gov. Kitzhaber, Oregon Government | 41 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Rupert in Springfield

    You know, after the utter outrage that was the Jane Cease scandal, where a multi million dollar computer refit was handled with such utter incompetency as to redefine the meaning of the word I’ll believe anything as far as political patronage jobs in this state.

    Oregon is a state with a government vastly beyond the scope of what a small state really needs. When you have government that large, you have corruption on the same scale.

    I’m not sure how these people actually live with themselves. I am sure where they dwell is probably rather dark, with few mirrors.

    • Moe

      Hey, they needed those computers. And who better to lead than Jame. And the project was successful.
      At least to the vendor.

  • Bob Clark

    Another down side to this is elected government officials appointed to head agencies carry their politics with them when in theory agency heads should be non-political in their management of a government agency.

    In an era when electronic communication is pervasive, I wonder if we couldn’t replace much of representative government with frequent citizen vote on issues instead, within the context of some weight given to geographic location of citizens (replicating the Republic form our governance, and not that of pure democracy).

    I hear Rick Perry actually suggests going the other way where Congress persons are chosen by state delegation of some sort.  I like Perry for president so far eventhough I don’t agree with some of his positions such as this. 

    Perry is a beefy hamburger whereas Romney is sort of milk toast.  I think I like Perry more than Cristie as the latter has bit on the man made global warming religion whereas Perry is not afraid to say this convoluted religion is too costly (solutions worse than the problem).

    • Wayner

      All state agencies form part of the administrative arm of the government.  The governor is, by law, head of the administrative arm of state government.  How can anybody expect the governor to appoint anyone to administrative jobs knowing they do not support his agenda for that agency (or you could use the term politics in place of agenda if you want to be imprecise)?  
      To suggest that all administrative jobs should be essentially non-partisan (there is no such creature as a non-partisan agency head and never will be) smacks of pie in the sky idealism.  Andrew Jackson would turn over in his grave at the thought. 
      Where the governor gets administrative talent who agree with his agenda is his business in light of a lack of relevant legal restrictions.  In fact, the governor probably knows much more about the talents and administrative philosophies of members of the legislature than he knows about those of anybody else in the state because he works so closely with them.  Rep. Cannon likely felt he had much he wanted to contribute to Education Policy after dealing with it so much as a lawmaker.

  • Who Cares!

    I have now found the other end of the spectrum in reporting. Is the daily dead fish wrappers alter ego! What a bunch of trash reporting. This is all about control in the media same as all the rest. Why don’t you try and do some good with the bandwidth that you have and stop trying to incite hate thru your website. 

    People work for the state and public agencies because they need jobs and want to have a paycheck. Since no private business is expanding where do you think these folks are going to go? 

    Yes Obama is a turd but we can all do better by coming together and getting thru this mess without making one class of workers hated by another. This polarization seems to be the message from both the right and the left but what good does it do to those of us in the middle? Answer, zero! This hate speech needs to end because we are all going no where fast. What good has this done, over the past 25 years? Well here we are, doing the same thing that Obama has and is doing, blaming someone else for the problems. What about sitting your bottoms down and writing your Representatives both state and federal with your concerns!!!!! Time is running out, its now time to tell them what to do and stop with the left and right BS. Tell your elected officials your thoughts, this website only instills hate and fear there are no solutions offered here for the common working man here.  

  • Who Cares!

    I have now found the other end of the spectrum in reporting. Is the daily dead fish wrappers alter ego! What a bunch of trash reporting. This is all about control in the media same as all the rest. Why don’t you try and do some good with the bandwidth that you have and stop trying to incite hate thru your website. 

    People work for the state and public agencies because they need jobs and want to have a paycheck. Since no private business is expanding where do you think these folks are going to go? 

    Yes Obama is a turd but we can all do better by coming together and getting thru this mess without making one class of workers hated by another. This polarization seems to be the message from both the right and the left but what good does it do to those of us in the middle? Answer, zero! This hate speech needs to end because we are all going no where fast. What good has this done, over the past 25 years? Well here we are, doing the same thing that Obama has and is doing, blaming someone else for the problems. What about sitting your bottoms down and writing your Representatives both state and federal with your concerns!!!!! Time is running out, its now time to tell them what to do and stop with the left and right BS. Tell your elected officials your thoughts, this website only instills hate and fear there are no solutions offered here for the common working man here.  

    • Gordons

      Spoken like a true gov worker.  The article isn’t promoting hate against all gov workers, Just the slimy politicians who use their position to obtain a high paying gov job.  It also bags on the PERS system.  It is not right that a part time legislator can serve at a low pay rate for 20 years, then get high paying full time job for a few years and pad his PERS.  The average private sector worker can not do that and should not have to pay for it.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      If showing how Margaret Carter et. al.  worked the system inspires hate, that hate is due to the actions involved, not the reporting of them.

      Polarization is often a good thing. If someone is strangling my wife, I would say that is a polarizing situation. I don’t think it would be at all appropriate for me to try and be non polarizing and reason with my wife that her and I should accept such a situation.

      Likewise in Wisconsin. When it came out that union workers were ripping off taxpayers by forcing the state to buy way over priced insurance from the unions own insurance company that was a polarizing situation that paralyzed the government for some time. Should people have tried to understand and sympathize with a unions need to force the taxpayers to buy way over priced insurance? I sure don’t think so and obviously neither did the voters.

      Unions were originally formed to counter work place abuses. No one would question the logical basis for their formation based upon such a condition. If working conditions are abusive it is perfectly logical for workers to form a union to counter such a situation. That’s polarizing a situation.

      Likewise, if unions become abusive of the work place, there can be no logical argument that such abuse by unions should be countered if one has accepted the contra position described above.

      Whether or not such conditions exist at any given time is the province of individual judgement.

      However if it is true that such a condition exists, and few would not agree it did in the first instance, many clearly do in the second, then to counter such abuse is only logical. To continue to endure it in order to be non polarizing would be insane.

      • Anonymous

        Rupert…

        Some people…such as Who Crees!…will whine and whine about the world being filled with controversy but will be too busy to vote on election day…or now during the three weeks they have to fill in their mail-in ballot. They are better ignored.

        • Who Cares!

          That’s where your argument falls on its face, I vote in every election. Just lay off the personal attacks, your message will go further. 

          Funny that you missed the meaning of my post, you have time to complain here but never mentioned that I was talking about getting in contact with those that can and do change our lives. Write your elected officials.  

          Please spell my screen name correctly 🙂

          • Anonymous

            My criticism stands. You are a whiner. The misspelling was obviously a typo but it gave you that much more to whine about.

          • Who Cares!

            Well so much for civil discourse, I would still recommend that you write call or otherwise communicate with those that you are directing your ire at.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            When the bulk of your post is devoted to a lot of talk about hate speech its hard not to see that as its main point.

            Frankly I am a little sick and tired of people who launch on a tirade of uncivil discourse (calling the web site trash reporting, claiming it is trying to incite hate, calling Obama a turd, then endless reiterations of hate speech claims) and then expect to receive strict Roberts Rules of order in reply.

            I mean seriously, if you are going to post using clear and intentional uncivil discourse, please don’t get bent out of shape if others reply in kind.

          • Anonymous

            I did, I replied to you. You are who I am directing my ire at. That should be pretty clear, I don’t know why you are finding it so hard to grasp.

  • Anonymous

    You know, with comments like these you are just going to get skewered by the Kitzslobber and Kulonwrongski appologists. They’ll be here post haste with their noses held high telling you that PERS is a fair and equitable system. It doesn’t matter how right you are or how much common sense you make, they’ll be making up their facts and running you through.

    • 3H

      Oh Joel…  making up facts and numbers is your domain.  No need for anyone else to go there.   You are the undeniable master.

      • Anonymous

        See what I mean. Pathetic really…truly a pathetic response.

  • Privatesectorman

    This bozo should never be paid a dime. No one needs an ed policy advisor. That is a made-up position.
    There is no ed policy in Oregon except to pay teachers more each year for doing less from k_12 through to higher ed.
    Why would you need anyone to advise on that. It will never change.
    Ever.
    So the game continues. Hire people who can’t find work in the private sector to do some lame crap that will never impact a single student ever.
    Great work if you can get it.
    Not to mention the rank smell of dishonesty.

  • Anazazi1

    So what?

  • Closefam

    A governor with integrity would feel the need to be fair and just in his/her appointments.  Lest we forget, there are also Republicans that “carried water” for Democrat governors and got agency headships: four in 2004 alone, betraying their caucus.

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