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Filed Under “Things We Already Knew,” Mark Myers Is An Idiot

August 31, 2012

Yesterday’s post about the spending in the Secretary of State’s office drew a response from a member of Martin’s staff. The response was (predictably) from Mark Myers who (predictably) demonstrated a complete lack of higher-order critical thinking.

@ThrowingAnvils you failed to mention that SOS have more employees than all those offices combined. #fail

Oh no! He put the hashtag #fail after his response! Man, everything I wrote must’ve been devastatingly undercut by his wickedly insightful observation! Let’s look at each of the five points raised in the first post through the lens of “more employees” to see just how foolish I was.

1. $2,170 (plus $339.57 in travel expenses) to hire a company called THOR Global Defense Group, Inc. While it is true that part of Martin’s larger staff– the only time in the history of the world that those three words have been used in that particular sequence — is the Capitol Police, that doesn’t negate the fact that he apparently paid over $2,500 for needless paramilitary training for those police. What insane string of events would have to unfold for the Capitol Police to be forced to use that training? Even if you assume that a terrorist could possibly attack the Arkansas Capitol — probably because of something Obama did, I’m guessing — you still have the State Police and the LRPD available at a moment’s notice. The Capitol Police exist primarily to (a) enforce parking rules around the Capitol complex, (b) man the metal detectors at the Capitol entrances, and (c) to give emergency rides to legislators who need to get to or from the Capitol in a hurry. Sure, there’s a general “security” component to what they are doing, but the number of attacks on the Arkansas Capitol in recent memory are exactly zero. This is wasted money that has nothing to do with the number of Martin’s employees and everything to do with his willingness to waste money on needless stuff.

2. $9604.43 in travel and travel-related expenses. Arguably, this cost could be tied to the number of employees. Except it’s really not. There are a handful of employees in the office who actually do any traveling. It’s not like the people running the gift shop in the lobby are flying off to conferences. It’s only Martin, Boyd, Reed, Matayo, and a couple others who go anywhere on the state dime. That’s pretty close to the same number of Governor Beebe’s employees who are traveling. Not to mention, the mere fact that Martin has more employees doesn’t mean that those employees need to attend some of this crap. Again, he sent someone to the National Association of State Legislatures. There’s no earthly reason for this from an office that claims to be non-political and not interested in lobbying (which is a lie, obviously).

3. $204,250 (so far) on repairing and renovating the skylight in the Senate chamber. This has nothing to do with the number of employees, nor did it have anything to do with the spending of the grant money. It has everything to do with the fact that he hired an out-of-state corporation that just recently settled a racial harassment suit with the EEOC instead of hiring an Arkansas company and keeping that money in the state.

4. $4,435.50 to Comcast Cable. This is only related to total number of employees if you buy the idea that a bunch of Martin’s employees need cable television in their offices. I reject that idea out of hand, as I think any right-minded taxpayer would.

5. $8,672.00 at Crain Ford in Chenal. Related not to the number of employees, but certainly related to the SoS’s duty to maintain a fleet of state vehicles. As I said in the post, I included that charge because, when coupled with the $27,629 he spent on an unneeded Ford Escape as well as the above-listed needless spending, it paints a picture of Martin that is exactly the kind of picture we expected from him if he won.

So, to recap, the only #fail I see is Mark Myers’ attempt at a rebuttal. Oh, and Mark Martin generally. He sucks.

2 comments

  1. Could you compare these amounts to the prior SoS? Would those records even be available?

    I would posit that, due to redistricting requirements, some of the SoS’s election staff have made extended trips to rural areas to help out the County Clerks with their mapping requirements.

    I could guess that, maybe, the Comcast bills would be related to internet and/or the new website.

    That’s just me trying to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    I cannot understand for the life of me why the vehicle issues won’t go away. You would think they would rather ride around in a minivan rather than deal with the scrutiny any vehicle expenditures are going to cause.


  2. Well, internet is through DIS, so that’s a separate bill and expense. And their new website was done under an existing contract with a third-party that’s been in effect for a while. The Comcast bill is 100% about cable television, which makes sense in the rotunda and possibly a meeting room or two, but nowhere else in my opinion.

    Possible on the travel, though some of the most expensive chunks of the travel were stuff like sending AJ to the legislative conference. If a SoS staffer took a state car to the hinterlands to help a clerk, there shouldn’t be a mileage charge, so we’d just be talking about possibly some hotels, but that doesn’t seem to line up with much of what is in the expenses honestly.

    As for comparing to ol’ Chuck Daniels, there’s no way to do it through the website at the present. I’m sure he was a big spender, too. But wasn’t part of Martin’s campaign that Democrats had been ruining the state by overspending, and he would change that?



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