Last week, the News Journal reported Kathleen Davies won her Merit Employee Review Board appeal hearing. She will be reinstated at the Auditor of Accounts office after a two and a half-year ordeal. She ran for State Auditor but lost to opponent Kathy McGuiness in the September 6th Primary. McGuiness won the General Election so the two women will soon be working in the same building.
Eric Morrison wrote a guest piece on this saga and what it means for Delaware:
First, let me say that all sentiments expressed in this commentary are mine and mine alone.
Kathleen Davies, who was by far the most qualified and ethical candidate for State Auditor, has just been vindicated for the second time, after being placed on leave from her second-in-command State Auditor office role in July 2016, and terminated from it in December 2017.
Back in June, the Delaware Division of Unemployment determined that Kathleen was terminated without reason or cause. Now, the State’s Merit Employee Relations Board (MERB) has also found that she was terminated unjustly.
The MERB hearings were supposed to take place many months ago—but were postponed repeatedly, just as I predicted they would be— until after both the primary and general elections. Many powers-that-be did not want Kathleen vindicated before either election, and they knew she would be vindicated.
We know from emails released through a FOIA request, other sources, and simply putting pieces of the many-months-long puzzle together, that certain powerful Democratic elected and party officials, Tom Wagner’s Office of the Auditor of Accounts, former Republican Party Executive Director and Tom Wagner’s post-Kathleen second-in-command John Fluharty, and other characters in this sad cast, conspired, worked overtime, and played dirty politics to keep Kathleen out of the State Auditor’s seat.
They knew that if Kathleen won the Democratic primary, she would win the general election. And they knew that if she won the general election, she would do the job right, truly looking out for the best interests of Delaware’s taxpayers, and not roll over when facing special interests and political pressure.
Shame on all of those folks. Shame on the Delaware Democratic Party for not endorsing Kathleen in the primary. Shame on the News Journal and reporter Jessica Bies for their years-long hatchet job on Kathleen. Shame on other media outlets who picked up on that hatchet job and ran with it blindly. Shame on anyone who bought into that muck with willful ignorance. Shame on Delaware Democratic primary voters who did not educate themselves about the three Democratic State Auditor candidates. Shame on Tom Wagner and everyone else who played a part in wasting so much taxpayer money in a very expensive, unsuccessful effort to ruin Kathleen’s career and character, and to break her laudable fighter’s spirit.
When Kathleen lost the primary (by a small percentage), all Delawareans lost. We now have a State Auditor who is unqualified, dishonest, and who cannot be trusted to conduct fair and impartial audits and investigations, and release unbiased results, because she sees the position as nothing more than another stepping-stone down the repulsively ambitious path of her political career. When she was asked in an interview during the primaries if she saw this position as a stepping-stone, she replied: “I don’t know what I will be doing tomorrow. I don’t know what I will be eating tomorrow. I don’t know what I will be wearing tomorrow.” She will not even admit that she is not in fact a “lifelong Delawarean,” as she constantly boasts!
The collusion to defile Kathleen’s reputation and keep her out of the State Auditor role exists as one of the most blatant and reprehensible examples of “the Delaware Way” in recent memory. It is heartbreaking and infuriating.
Delawareans deserve better, but we will only get it if we demand it.
I will have more to say about this development with Davies and how McGuiness is serving as Tom Wagner’s Deputy until her swearing-in coming up in January.