Imagine a division of state government that no longer reports to the Governor. It reports to the Secretary of State. But this division will have a director from the private sector. This director will not have to make their financial information public. The activities of this division will be considered a non-profit agency deliberately removing itself from Freedom of Information Act requests. Welcome to Governor John Carney’s non-transparent public/private partnership where anything can happen behind closed doors and the public will never know about it.
For years, the unholy invasion of public education has resulted in more changes than I care to count. Now that House Bill #226 seems to be on the fast track, it will become state law in Delaware. Yesterday, the House voted on the bill with 34 yes, 6 no, and 1 not voting. Who were the brave souls who voted no? State Reps. John Kowalko, Kim Williams, Sean Lynn, Sean Matthews, Andria Bennett and Deb Heffernan. Rep. Charles Potter was the not voting. Why is this bill dangerous?
First of all, the ability to FOIA any information from this division will be non-existent. It will be a non-profit “company” embedded in the state and will get money from taxpayers. Doesn’t that seem the ultimate slim-shady?
This will be where a ton of big stuff goes down without public purveyance. I anticipate we will see a great deal of Blockchain and Pay For Success initiatives coming out of this office. While those have not impacted Delaware education yet, you better believe it is in the planning stages. El Som said it best on Delaware Liberal yesterday:
The Chamber and the Business Roundtable have been pushing for this for the past few years. Crony capitalism with no accountability. Pushed by your Democratic governor and the Democratic Chamber brown-nosers in the General Assembly. A horrible bill, pushed by ‘Democrats’ who need to be primaried.
Yes, primaries need to get going NOW. But while we talk about the Dem brown-nosers, take note that every single House Republican voted for this horror fest coming to Delaware. When our state starts announcing these exciting new things and folks are wondering where the hell it originated, look no further than here. It is the perfect way to conduct state business behind closed doors and no one has to know a damn thing. They can just say it is not FOIAble.
The Director of this public/private partnership from hell will most likely come from the private sector. Because he will be a Director of a quasi-state agency, he/she would have to make their financial information available… to the General Assembly, NOT the public. And who is the Director’s boss? Not the Governor. No, that honor goes to the Delaware Secretary of State who will have jurisdiction over pretty much everything with this non-transparent gig. Nice way for a current or future Governor of Delaware to wash their hands when the slimy stuff comes out. I can picture it now, “They don’t answer to me. I don’t know anything about that. Talk to the Secretary of State guys!” I have no doubt the Director of this division will be someone I’ve called out before on this blog. Any one of the number of business folks who think they can fix education with the wave of their corporate wand.
This newly created state agency called the Division of Small Business, Development, and Tourism sounds so nifty, doesn’t it? By calling it a Division, it seems less than an actual Department. And by using the word “small” in it, it seems less important. But this will be the shadow government in Delaware. Who needs lobbyists milling around Legislative Hall when they can just attend these meetings! And this is very much a crony apparatus. It isn’t a Democrat or Republican thing, it’s a corporate thing. Where big business can do whatever they want with no one the wiser.
Yesterday, during the House debate on the bill, State Rep. Lyndon Yearick actually compared this to Grant-In-Aid. No, Lyndon, this is NOT Grant-In-Aid. That is answerable to transparency. This is not. State Rep. Kim Williams called him out on this fallacy. Despite State Rep. Bryon Short’s amendment about preventing a “conflict of interest”, how the hell would we even know if there is a conflict most of the time since this is not FOIAble? I expect more from you than being a Rodel and Business Roundtable whipping boy Rep. Short!
This is Rodel’s dream come true. And the Delaware Business Roundtable. As if the non-transparent Family Services Cabinet Council wasn’t bad enough, now we have to deal with this unholy matrimony between public and private? The god-awful and horrible “Delaware Way” just took a sharp turn into complete and utter darkness folks. The days of any possible sunshine on state affairs are done. For years, many folks have been saying I wear a tin hat and my blog is filled with conspiracy theories. This was one of those. When the Every Student Succeeds Act final draft came out, I talked about this very thing. That was a year and a half ago. Am I still crazy?