Here’s a veto that I missed last week. I guess I should have noticed it, since it was one of those rare ones that the Legislature actually sustained:
I am very sorry to have to report to you that funding for the Executive Institute was vetoed by the Governor and the veto was sustained by the House of Representatives. Therefore the Institute will not begin it’s 19th year in August as planned and we will shut down the operation at the end of this fiscal year.
I would like to thank all of you for the friendship, enthusiasm and support you have shown us over the years. You are the major reason for the success we have had. Thanks so much for 18 great years.
Tina Joseph Hatchell
Alongside such biggies as the SCHIP program and indigent defense, this one was easy to overlook. But now that I know, I’m sorry to hear it.
I’m an alumnus of the Executive Institute, class of ’94. Back then, the director of the program was Phil Grose. That was thee year that I was getting ready to come up to the editorial department from news (end of ’93, beginning of ’94). My predecessor Tom McLean paid for me to do the program, because back in those days, we had money for such professional development. Primarily, the Institute existed to train up-and-coming managers in state government, although there was always a smattering of private sector folks for leavening — which helped give the government types exposure to the private sector, and vice versa. The interaction itself was educational.
It was particularly useful because of the Institute’s teaching method. It was run in conjunction with the Kennedy School at Harvard, and the instructors led the class through real-life case studies, in which we were asked to put ourselves in the places of the public administrators who had navigated their way through a variety of crises and challenges.
Being the newspaper guy, I had to overcome a great deal of distrust and wariness on the part of my classmates, which was essential to the kind of interaction that the classes called for. Middle managers in government see press types as natural enemies, for a simple reason: Newspapers don’t write about what they do except when there is a problem, consequently we help create the phenomenon we see in the comments on this blog — a lot of folks in the electorate who only see them in terms of the worst mistakes that anyone like them has ever made, because that’s what gets written about.
But we managed to get a good enough rapport going to have some pretty good discussions going. Frequently, my role was to try to convince people that having the problem (in the case study) get into the newspapers was not the end of the world. It was interesting, and I think helpful to having a better-run state government.
Does that mean I think lawmakers should have overridden the veto. No, not if they were going to leave the prisons, mental health, our roads and 4K all underfunded. But if they were going to override either this or their pet "Competitive" Grants Program, they should have overridden this.
So guess which one they overrode — "overwhelmingly"?