The League of Women Voters forum at Delaware State University this evening was the perfect showcase for anyone who might be on the fence about the State Auditor position. Kathy McGuiness scowled and complained her way to absurdity tonight. Continue reading
I don’t get it. Every single year the Delaware General Assembly insists on having their late-night marathon with hundreds of bills on the agendas. They had many opportunities to prevent that this year. But instead, they had unending tributes to departing legislators, the Governor scheduled non-budget bill signings on June 30th, and they waited until the last minute to put up a minimum wage bill.
The tributes to the departing legislators had been going on for days. And they never seemed to end. I get that you want to honor those who wrote bills for decades. But a time limit on the comments would have been really good.
The temperature in Legislative Hall went up as Governor Carney signed an Executive Order around 4:45pm to put the methodology of “budget smoothing” into his proposed budget each year. Since the Democrats in the General Assembly balked on this idea that would change the Delaware Constitution, Carney felt he had to get something about it in writing, thus the Executive Order.
Around the same time, an unending line of pro-gun supporters flooded Legislative Hall. It was already a hot day, and just having more bodies in the place physically rose the temperature in there! All the suits began sweating and it became uncomfortable. As the pro-gun folk realized there was NOT going to be any last-minute legislation (which was their reason for coming- a just in case), they began to leave and you could actually feel the air in there.
Many candidates who filed for the upcoming election were seen in the halls. Even Kathy McGimmick was seen dashing in, heading towards Speaker of the House Pete Schwartkopf’s office, and leaving about 10-15 minutes later. It was a good opportunity to meet some of the candidates I had not met yet and to chat with those I had.
Even a wine bill caused chaos! When Rep. Dave Wilson changed what I assume was a yes vote to a no, Rep. Jeff Spiegelman did not mince his words with Wilson as he yelled “You stabbed me in the back!”
For education, the VERY controversial House Bill #454 was stricken. This was the “show me the money” bill for developers and a decrease in their property assessments for redeveloped land. Buh-bye bad bill!
But here is what gets me. They talk about how much they respect their staff but treat them to intolerable working conditions. Some of their staff came in at 11am yesterday. They were still there at 7:30am this morning. Some of their staff are senior citizens. Hell, some of the legislators are senior citizens! I don’t blame every legislator for this. But the leadership is who determines these monstrous agendas.
It is not a party no matter what you hear. Having legislators pass laws when they are beyond the point of exhaustion is the very definition of insanity. Tempers flare and they grumble. Visitors wait in the lobby and constantly ask what the heck is going on. This morning, when I left around 2:45am, the Capitol Police were already indicating their workers were past the 16 hour shift mark. Sure, the free ice cream for visitors helps. But the cafeteria closes at 8pm. You have to go to WaWa to get coffee!
This is what kills me about Legislative Hall- the lack of plugs! We live in a cell phone society now. The plug shortage (except for legislators and their staff) causes folks to huddle around the rare plug outlets. Which brings me to my next point- why do they not have TVs in the lobbies showing live feeds of the House or Senate? This isn’t 1950 anymore Delaware! We can do this. Hell, they could do live feeds on the internet as well!
There has to be a better way. It wasn’t like there were a ton of new bills that were introduced on the last day. It was the fact they left tons of bills languishing until the last minute. Instead of having all these tributes and fluff stuff during their many other legislative days, maybe they could do what we elected them to do- vote on legislation!
I was one of the lucky ones. The last education legislation passed at 2am. Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting left immediately after that vote. I should have taken her queue but decided to stick around until I asked myself what was so important for me to stick around. Sure, I could have seen the minimum wage bill debacle. Which would have consisted of me rolling my eyes when they decided to stay open.
I lost big time. I called a departure time of 12:38am. They left hours after the sun came up this morning. On the plus side, they get to rest for the next six months! But like the myth of teachers doing nothing during the summer, many of our legislators plan for the next session and do a ton of research on bills they would like to introduce. Many of them will spend the next few months campaigning as all 41 of the State Reps and 10 of the State Senators are up for re-election. For some of them, they will sail off into the retirement sunset and, no doubt, thank the lucky stars they will never have to pull the June 30th/July 1st all-nighter.
The sad part? I’ll probably do this again next year. I’m a glutton for punishment! But I have to admit, I do enjoy Delaware politics for a few reasons. We are a small state. You can drive an hour or so from any direction and wind up at Legislative Hall. It can take time, but you can get to know pretty much every single legislator in the state. You can hang out at Legislative Hall and say hi to the Governor when he emerges from the bat cave. You can joke around with his staff as they walk around looking like the weight of the world rests on their shoulders and manage to get them to crack a smile. You can attend a rally against separating families one minute and chat with folks who wear “live free or die” t-shirts the next. You can chat with the Delaware Secretary of Education and not worry about detention. If you go to Leg. Hall often enough, the Capitol Police call you by your name when you walk in the door. For me, it is my home away from home in a weird way.
Kathy McGuiness issued a victim shaming press release today against her State Auditor candidate, Kathleen Davies. Seeing this is showing McGuiness has to be worried about losing a primary (again) in September! In her latest stunt, she sent an email to her “supporters” today about the News Journal article on Davies that appeared online yesterday.
The urban dictionary describes victim shaming as this- “When the victim of an event is blamed, or partially blamed, for their own attack.”
While I first wrote about why Davies was unfairly dismissed from the Auditor’s office on June 5th, it took the News Journal twenty days to (finally) catch up with that news. But they didn’t assign a political reporter to the story, but rather an education reporter. Both of our articles were very similar in citing the unemployment hearing report. I did my thing but the News Journal did have some new information.
Bies wrote about an upcoming Merit Employee Review Hearing. This hearing will determine if Davies gets her job back. Bies did a good job at expressing Davies’ thoughts on the matter:
“Merit employees are subject to a process that is controlled and driven by the state,” she explained in an email. “Hence, I had to follow the state’s guidelines and processes, which meant I had to stay on paid leave as long as the state kept me there in order to exercise my merit and legal remedies. I and other merit employees have suffered through this process with no option other than to engage legal counsel and wait.”
“The state chose to keep me on paid leave for the 19 months before I could move forward with the merit and legal process,” Davies said. “My legal representation, as is the case with other merit employees, is at my own expense. Had I resigned from my position during the 19 months, I would have lost my rights to these remedies.”
But here comes Kathy McGuiness, sending out a VERY misleading email today, calling on Davies to make her merit hearing public AND to release a report that the Auditor’s office paid over $100,000.00 for. Yes, the Grant Thornton report. The same report that was incomplete at the unemployment hearing. Which begs some serious questions- why didn’t Wagner release the full report to the unemployment hearing officer? Were there allegations against Wagner himself in that report? Did Wagner’s office have the ability to edit that report or redact information since the full copy wasn’t released to the hearing officer?
The McGuiness campaign wrote the following “press release” today which is begging for a red-lining!
Kathy McGuiness, Democratic candidate for Auditor, responded to today’s News Journal report detailing the latest developments in Kathleen Davies’ dismissal from her post as Tom Wagner’s second-in-command and issued the following:
McGuiness acts like this has been in the press every single day for two years. It hasn’t. She wants to put a focus on something that was already solved. In short, Wagner screwed up!
“In two months, Democratic primary voters will be choosing their nominee for this critical state office and deserve to know what was found in the independent investigation leading to Kathleen Davies’ initial dismissal from the Auditor’s Office.
Wagner dismissed Davies before that investigation was even complete. Now if you are talking about the unwarranted and unethical “independent investigation” conducted by an audit manager in the office without any authority to do so, we can talk about that. Which led to Davies’ wrongful termination and was ruled by the unemployment hearing officer to be unethical.
Based on the News Journal account, the Wagner-Davies Auditor’s Office operated without leadership for years.
Actually, they did operate with leadership which most likely scared half the people in the office. All of a sudden, not long after Davies came aboard, that office was doing real audits that wound up resulting in real jail sentences for crooked charter school leaders. But apparently some didn’t like Davies in a leadership role so they trumped up bogus charges against her. It backfired. Davies proved she does have what it takes to get the job done!
The decision allowing her to receive unemployment insurance is only the first step of the investigation into Ms. Davies’ professional conduct while working for Tom Wagner.
Even though, based on testimony of others in that office, including Wagner himself, it was proven Davies professional conduct was above and beyond and she did her job. Okay. It seems like McGuiness is screaming about smoke but there is no fire.
The Auditor’s office has to operate transparently and maintain the public’s trust.
For someone who talks so much about transparency, why doesn’t McGuiness open up the books on her many years on Rehoboth City Council? Where is the Rehoboth City Council online checkbook? For a council she served on for so long, how come she never begged for that kind of transparency down there?
To have critical investigative information about a candidate for State Auditor withheld from the public and to have a hearing closed to the public, where serious accusations about her professional conduct while on the job is a disservice to voters and undermines the public’s confidence.
To see my own take on McGuiness, just look at this article. Yes, this is the same McGuiness who wanted LLCs to have voting rights. Who had to hire an attorney to figure out if she lived in Delaware or Utah in order for her to qualify as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor. Who changed her political party several times. For the record, Davies has not said one way or the other whether or not the hearing will be public. I would imagine she has a lawyer involved and she would make a decision based on her own legal counsel. And this hearing is NOT about the serious accusations about her professional conduct. It is about Davies serious accusations against the Auditor’s office which had a light as bright as the sun shining on Wagner’s office after the unemployment hearing. For McGuiness to sit there and victim shame Davies is very low, even for Delaware politics. But I guess you have to do what you can to win, right?
Because she is a candidate for public office, I call on Ms. Davies to authorize the Auditor’s office to release to the public, the content of the Grant Thornton investigation as well as any other pertinent information relating into her conduct as Tom Wagner’s top assistant, and permit her July hearing before the Merit Employees Relations Board to be open to the public, so voters have all the facts.”
You are assuming she has the ability to “authorize” the Auditor’s office to make a report they paid for public. Regarding a personnel issue. And once again, the same report that could very well have been doctored to such a degree to make Wagner try to look good. Which it failed to do at the unemployment hearing by the way. Even though the unemployment hearing report cleared Davies of the wrongdoing this “audit manager” trumped up against her, that isn’t enough for McGuiness. She wants this report released which would, in most likelihood, make Wagner look even worse than he already does.
What McGuiness failed to mention in her email is the heart of the News Journal article which was this- Tom Wagner unfairly terminated Davies. And it went on to state how it was unfair. Instead she is trying to make a “thing” out of something that was already solved when I put up my article three weeks ago. These are the actions of a desperate woman who thought she had a sure thing in running for State Auditor. Someone who likes to talk about transparency but doesn’t even release her own reimbursements with the City of Rehoboth.
But McGuiness doesn’t even bother to write how the Merit Employee Review Board deals with grievances Delaware state employees file against the agency they worked for. Davies isn’t the one on trial here. The purpose is to hear what Davies has to say in regards to the grievances she filed against Tom Wagner. I have no doubt she viewed Davies as a distant runner in the race and didn’t count on her being vindicated in the press. So she wants to attempt to stir up trouble instead of reaching out to a political candidate. The right thing for McGuiness to do would be to sympathize with Davies, woman to woman, and recognize that, yes, our state employee merit system is very jacked up. Nope, she wants to try to throw Davies under a victim shaming bus and that is just wrong.
Kathy McGuiness wants to talk on her campaign stops about diversity as she sits on the all-white and well-off Rehoboth City Council. She is just wrong for State Auditor and if that hasn’t become clear to anyone in Delaware yet, I strongly encourage you to look beyond the “image” of McGuiness. She will happily show up at any event in the First State and tell you why she should be State Auditor. But that doesn’t make her the real thing.
This is an ongoing issue between Davies and Wagner. Davies was cleared in the first round. That has been made public already. If McGuiness wants to victim blame another candidate to make herself look like a viable candidate, that is certainly her right but it is a new low. Which would make me very concerned about her ability to hold statewide office and how she would deal with those who cross her path in a way she doesn’t like. This is the Kathy McGuiness that, when she feels threatened, would victim shame a good and decent woman. While some in the Delaware Democrat party pledge allegiance to McGuiness, they are doing it for all the wrong reasons. And they know what those reasons are. They want McGuiness because she is malleable and will serve at their behest. But I can promise it will be a decision those Democrat power brokers would live to regret down the road. The optics of politics is a messy thing. Delaware deserves a State Auditor that is not malleable and will not serve power brokers. Delaware deserves Kathleen Davies.