Jason Tolbert rounds up a little local dispute in Saline County, where Circuit Judge Grisham Phillips refused to swear in the new circuit clerk, Dennis Milligan. Milligan is a Republican who defeated incumbent Democrat Doug Kidd in a hotly contested race. That was not Phillips' complaint. He told Fox 16 that he wasn't happy about Milligan firing five long-time clerk's office employees without interviewing them before taking office. County Judge Lanny Fite handled the swearing in of Milligan.
If Milligan's assessment of employees is as good as his understanding of clerk's office finances — not good, based on this Doug Kidd column — the rocky ride has only just begun.
For those of you who might have forgotten, Milligan, as state Republican chair, uttered this memorable line in defense of George W. Bush's foreign policy: "At the end of the day, I believe fully the president is doing the right thing, and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [ 9/11 ], and the naysayers will come around very quickly to appreciate not only the commitment for President Bush, but the sacrifice that has been made by men and women to protect this country." Of course he wasn't really wishing for 9/11. (Was he?) Of course, however, he isn't too swift.
For all that, I think the judge, who has no authority over the clerk's office, probably should have bitten his tongue and sworn in Milligan, the duly elected clerk. Appearances do count. If Milligan is a screwup, it will become apparent in due course.