Secretary of State Mark Martin has been running a sloppy operation since taking office on the standard Republican promise to run smarter, cheaper, more ethical government. He's wasted money, tolerated partisan activities by staff in conflict with his campaign rhetoric, resisted openness and generally inspired nostalgia for Charlie Daniels.
Latest: Blue Hog Report checks the time cards and free-lance job activities of former employee Princella Smith, a Republican candidate for Congress in 2010. He intimates she was paid for hours when it would appear she was not at work.
Princella Smith, you might recall, was one of two employees of Martin who worked — in off hours, they say — as Republican commentators on Fox News.
The other is top deputy Alice Stewart, her work mentioned here previously. John Brummett today, too, writes about Stewart's outside activities. Of course the Constitution allows her, when not working for the office, to speak her mind on politics. But ...
But the secretary of state has certain election services duties. Stewart’s Coulter imitation on national Republican television showed an insufficiency of respect for the professional appearances of fairness and objectivity in her boss’s performance of his obligations to voters and taxpayers.
Florida showed us in 2000 the bad things that can happen when your secretary of state is a hyperpartisan.
The only way Stewart could serve these two masters seamlessly would be if they were approximately the same. Let us hope, nagging and growing appearances to the contrary, that our secretary of state is not the same as a Fox blowhard.