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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The double-dipper club

Of all the ethical reforms the Press and good-government groups have been advocating the past three years, dual officeholding seems the easiest to address. The conflict of interest inherent in holding more than one elected office is clear. A new report by the New Jersey Policy Perspective, "One to a Customer," makes an excellent case against dual officeholding. http://www.njpp.org/rpt_onetoacust.html

Take a legislator who is also a mayor. The best interests of people that legislator represents may be at odds at times with the best interests of the town he leads. You just can't wear two hats. It's hard to believe they have the time to do it.

These double-dippers disagree. They insist they can handle both jobs. And if they don't do them well, their constituents will vote them out, they say. That assumes their district or town is competitive. Too often, these politicians are so entrenched nobody dares to challenge them. Dual officeholders thus block the way for aspiring public officials.

So why hasn't dual elective officeholding been banned? Twenty of the 120 legislators are the problem, so they're not likely to do anything to interrupt the status quo. They can talk all they want about high ethical standards, but until they go the right thing - especially when it's so obvious - it's just talk.

1 Comments:

Anonymous NickFera said...

I think you identified the problem when you said "Too often, these politicians are so entrenched nobody dares to challenge them."

If we could solve the entrenchment problem, then we wouldn't have to have laws to eliminate dual officeholding or interminable officeholding. We would just vote 'em out.

I suppose entrenchment is the symptom. Citizen apathy is likely the disease.

10:31 AM, June 30, 2006  

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