Monday, July 28, 2008

Gov. Beebe decides not to have Cabinet meetings

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported today that Gov. Beebe has decided to end the decades old practice of having state Cabinet meetings. From their report…

Gov. Mike Beebe has ended a nearly four-decades-old practice of holding Cabinet meetings, a tradition dating back to former Gov. Dale Bumpers.

Each governor has his own style for managing the giant that state government has become, consisting of more than 27, 000 employees — not counting higher education - and involving more than $ 21. 1 billion a year. And Beebe’s choice not to sit down regularly with a Cabinet seems to have had no deleterious effect on the operation.

“We meet all the time with our agency heads,” said Matt DeCample, Beebe’s spokesman. “Individual meetings were all we really needed. We didn’t need to sit everyone down in a room together and call it a Cabinet.” Still, there hasn’t been any formal decision to abolish a Cabinet, Beebe aides said.

Of course, the article writes this off as just Beebe’s governing style and it goes on to discuss how inefficient these cabinet meeting were. The article actually goes as far as telling a story of former Gov. Bumpers having to get on to his department heads for drinking during their lunch break!

I can’t help but think that a Republican Administration would not have gotten such a free pass on this move. I am sure the story would have been told how the governor was moving these meetings behind closed doors and that the bureaucrats would now be running the show from smoke filled (or smoke free in case of Gov. Hucakbee) back rooms. What happened to the push for state government that operates in the sunshine? Has anyone bothered to ask if these "individual meeting" with the agency heads will be public?

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