McDonnell commission has chance to recycle
Will Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s government reform commission become anything more than a moderately impressive bullet-point on its members’ resumes?
Initially, the commission seems to have two strikes against it -- or at least against how it is perceived.
One, it’s a formal expression of the clean-up-government, root-out-corruption mantra politicians are reciting more and more these days. States are creating more oversight agencies and putting more government records online. McDonnell’s committee isn’t anything unique; it’s what all the kids are doing.
Two, anyone who has covered government bodies for any length of time knows how often special study groups and committees are formed to supposedly find ways to improve government, but don’t do anything more than give members another feather for their caps.
Still, past commissions have left a lot of good material behind for today’s members to chew on. First on the docket is a list of 100-some reforms that were recommended by groups formed by Govs. Mark Warner, George Allen and Doug Wilder. The commission will look at why those reforms weren’t implemented and whether they’re still good ideas now.
The most publicized idea, raised by Gov. Warner’s 2002 commission, is privatizing the state’s liquor stores. But there’s a plethora of other ideas that could make it to the drawing board. They could lead members to ask questions like:
-- Why doesn’t Virginia have an inspector general?
-- Is it a good practice to maintain individual HR departments in each agency, rather than using one centralized system?
-- What’s wrong with Virginia’s electronic record-keeping?
-- Why are state agencies still leasing separate buildings just blocks away from each other?
McDonnell’s reform commission is sitting on a mound of good ideas. Will members start recycling, or will it turn into a compost pile?
Paige Winfield Cunningham is an investigative reporter and managing editor at Old Dominion Watchdog. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.
| June 24, 2010; 11:49 AM ET
Categories: HotTopic, Local blog network, Va. Politics, Virginia
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