The School Facilities Big Labor Scandal keeps making news.
A quick recap for those who have been enjoying August vacation like normal people do:
In 2009, Strickland fired the Director of the Ohio School Facilities Commission, the son of a Democratic Party legend, for not being cozy enough with the unions. He was replaced with Richard Murray. Richard Murray came under investigation by the Ohio Inspector General for cozying up a little too close to the unions. The IG determined Murray “abused his authority by repeatedly acting as a go-between for union representatives and participating in arm-twisting sessions with local school districts.”
Well, on Saturday the Governor said:
“I support Mr. Murray. I think he’s done nothing wrong.”
On Sunday, the Dispatch went in a different direction:
Murray’s actions were grossly unprofessional and unacceptable for the head of a state agency in charge of billions of dollars in public money. The governor faces a choice: Remove an administrator who has ill-served the public, or keep him and thereby choose to serve labor’s interests rather than those of Ohio students and taxpayers.
Then the Plain Dealer said:
Murray, whether he believes it or not, has compromised the credibility of his office. Should he fail to resign, Strickland should give him a push. That might be politically expedient, but it’s also the right thing to do.
And Richard Murray’s reply in an interview with NBC 4 in Columbus dropped the hammer:
“As long as I have the Governor’s support, I will not resign.”
My friends, we’ve got an old-fashioned showdown.
And things have gone from bad to worse for Governor Strickland.
Right off the bat, Strickland said Murray did nothing wrong, but left wiggle room for Murray to resign of his own accord [wink, wink].
Ohio’s two largest newspapers told the Governor that Murray must be fired or resign.
Then Murray took away Strickland’s only out by saying the only way he would resign is if the Governor told him to do so.
So now Strickland has two choices.
One. Murray resigns. If this happens we know it will because the Governor asked him to do so. It’s also the right thing to do. The problem? Based on the Governor’s initial statement it would lack any political credibility since he had already thrown his public support behind Murray.
Two. Keep Murray. That leaves Strickland open to further criticisms into the indefinite future. And not just by his opposition, but by the media as well.
Either way, it’s a lose-lose.
And it was all self-inflicted.