Political cronyism in Frankfort nothing new

September 10, 2003

Dear Editor:

In a recent article you documented the move by Governor Patton and his cronies to move non-merit employees into merit positions in order to keep them on the payroll after his administration is gone. It doesn't seem to matter that there is a hiring freeze in effect or even if the job needed filling.

It is important for the general public to understand that this has become standard operating procedure at the close of the term for recent governors. These moves certainly do not come as a surprise to veteran state workers. They have seen the influx of appointed employees at the beginning of the governor's term and the push to move them into protected (merit) positions at the end of the term.

The sad part is that the people appointed, normally at inflated salaries, to the political jobs do not add to the efficiency of state government. Many times they become a roadblock to the employees who run the government, regardless of who is elected governor. Money wasted with this practice comes from the pockets of taxpayers and takes away from deserving programs.


The political favors to family and friends are not necessarily illegal, but they do circumvent the spirit of the merit system and undermine those professional state employees who won't get that deserved raise or promised promotion.

Seasoned state employees have learned to accept the situation because they know any complaint from them will lead to retaliation and will ensure that they do not get promoted or get a decent evaluation. The grievance system has been a joke for years.. At least I found these things to be true in the department of state government from which I recently retired.

I wish I could offer a solution to this waste of money and resources and the resulting loss of good state employees to other states, the federal government and the private sector.

I guess it has to have some relationship to honesty and integrity in our state government. Something that we do not seem to have.

Jack L. Shepherd


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