11.26.07- OR State Government News Bite: Penalty Box edition

Seems our Gov decided that the second most powerful man in state government needed to step aside. In a press release designed to be overlooked on the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving, the Governor’s office announced that Lindsay Ball, the head of DAS (Dept. of Administrative Services- I know it doesn’t sound important, but it is here in OR), was “moving on to a new assignment”. See the article here.

Funny thing is, this new assignment has been around for ages since no one wants the job due to the fact that the legislature hates the project. There is no mention of whose decision this was, but certainly Ball wouldn’t have taken this position without having been asked to step down.

Sources say that Ball and one of the Gov’s chiefs-of-staff (he’s got two, and we’re talking about Chip Terhune in this case) were behind the recent labor negotiation debacle, in which management announced 25% raises for their staff while crying poor to the unions who just finished bargaining for a paltry, insulting increase only days before. In fact, some of the unions’ locals hadn’t yet ratified their contracts, and the votes were leaning toward strike, last I heard. The unions were furious, and all sorts of allegations of unfair labor practices and improper, dishonest bargaining tactics began to fly around the state. At least one head of a major union really lost their cool with the Gov, Ball and their staff, while the other was working behind the scenes to see if there was a way for the Gov’s office to get out of this mess gracefully. The smaller unions felt they’d been taken to the cleaners, naturally.

I don’t think Ball’s head on a now non-DAS platter is going to satisfy anyone in this case. The unions deserved, and have a contract right to, honesty at the bargaining table, instead of being sold a bill of goods. How will the Gov’s office really try to make it up to them? The Dems are complaining to him, his other Chief of Staff, Tim Nesbitt, is not happy about the turn of events, and the unions now don’t trust the Gov or the Dems to provide support to Labor, even after the Gov’s last challenging election cycle.

Will Chip Terhune soon decide to “spend more time with his family”?  Or just be moved to a penalty box like Ball’s?

Stay tuned to find out… as the State turns.

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