Posted by Charity on October 27th, 2006

I want to address, more thoroughly, the tactic of the Matt Dunne campaign of trying to paint Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie as a slacker for only being a part-time lt. governor.

People are focusing on the salary of the lt. governor instead of the history of the office. I have always known the lt. governor to be a part-timer.

Now many of you Vermont political activists are actually new to this state, but way back when I was enjoying the end of my summer vacation before entering my sophomore year of high school here in the great state of VT, a certain practicing physician was informed that his part-time gig of lieutenant governor was about to be stepped-up to the full-time gig of governor. Sayonara, patients.

And last I checked that Racine guy used to sell cars while he was lt. governor.

According to a Princeton Class Notes piece on Lt. Gov. Racine,

“Old-fashioned Vermont–whose capital city, Montpelier, is the nation’s smallest–mandates that most of its politicians remain strictly part-time.”

So is Dubie doing anything wrong if he is part-timing it?

Matt Dunne says in his commercial that the Vermont taxpayers are paying Brian Dubie $61,000 dollars, so he should be working full-time. (What he fails to mention is that Dubie’s pay increase just took effect in July. I guess that $58,000 didn’t sound as bad.)

If the issue is how much the lieutenant governor makes, then we should be going after the legislature for paying the part-time lieutenant governor too much.

Ask Matt how he voted on H.533. After all, this is a legislative issue and Matt is in the legislature. If he thought $61,000 was such an obscene amount for the lieutenant governor to make, surely he voted against it, right?

The reality is that Brian Dubie is doing nothing wrong. In fact, he has used the Office of Lieutenant Governor to do some pretty interesting things. You can download his “logbook” from the issues page at briandubie.com and read all about Brian Dubie’s record as Lieutenant Governor of Vermont. He is working for Vermont.

Dunne is proposing to take the Vermont tradition of a part-time lieutenant governor and replace it with a position of increased power for him to advance his agenda, instead of running for an office more suited to his ambitions.

Do we really want to increase the power of the state government?

Thanks, but no thanks. I’m voting for Brian Dubie.

Update: And, as I pointed out before, think about this: If Matt Dunne is working full-time, year-round as lieutenant governor, will he settle for being paid less than the Secretary of State ($91,294), State Treasurer ($91,294), Auditor of Accounts ($91,294), Attorney General ($109,292), and all 38 heads of the state’s departments, offices, and agencies that make base salaries ranging from $73,830 to $87,062?

6 Responses to “The Vermont Tradition of Part-Time Politicians”

  1. Everything you said is true. It’s low politics to talk about your opponent’s salary. It wasn’t a good idea for Loyal Ploof in the mayoral race, it isn’t a good idea when Tarrant talks about Bernie’s salary, and it’s not what Dunne should be doing either. The issues are so much larger than the salary of one person. People who go after these kinds of issues are virtually guaranteed to become hypocrites if they win.

    All the lieutenant governor has to do is hang around and be ready in case the governor dies of a heart attack in his lawn chair by the pool. That’s it.

    The job is all about being able to handle that one crisis situation and see the state through if it happens. In all actuality, training and experience as a pilot would probably make one more able to handle such pressure than would the experience of doing whatever the hell Dunne does for a living. Just a guess.

    Not to say I’m voting for Dubie. Not to say I’m voting for Dunne. (Hey- Smoke a “Dubie,” and you’ll get “Dunne!” Clever, huh? Did you see Freyne use “Tarrogant” today. That was totally mine! The thief!) Maybe I’ll pick a third party crazy for that one. I don’t know.

  2. I agree that it is bad politics to go after the salary of your opponant, but I’m pretty struck by the fact that Dubie makes 60k a year!… I’m not saying he’s doing anything WRONG, per say, but if he were to do the RIGHT thing, he’d turn down most of his salary… That’s my damn money he’s got… And I feel good when I clear 25k per year and that’s working full time plus…

    When you look at his “log book” (what a stupid name for a bunch of press releases), it’s apparant that his “work” consists of visiting people, shaking thier hands, and announcing things that he really had nothing to do with… Tell me if you could take 60k worth of taxpayers’ money and feel good about yourself when that’s all you do…

    I’m not saying that Dubie is the only problem, but he’s a pretty glaring one… I’ve worked in and around the capital and I can tell you that a lot of the people you mentioned bust ass… Like 60 hr weeks and all… (Not so much department heads, but AG and Auditor definatly)… Now I don’t know if they should be getting paid as much as they are, but at least you can make the argument that they work a lot for that money…

    The Dubester gets 60k of my and your money for kissing babies…

  3. I feel your pain, Stan, but you are targeting the wrong person. Dubie does not set his own pay.

    If the pay is the problem, then the legislature is the problem. Dunne was in the legislature. I don’t recall that press conference where he openly opposed the pay increase and called for the part-time lieutenant governor’s pay to get lowered to be more in line with his job.

    Why not? Because he is an opportunist.

    Read the Free Press endorsement of Dunne in today’s paper. They give you a glimpse of what Dunne plans to do with the office:

    It would be unfortunate, however, if he used the post to wage partisan skirmishes with a Republican governor.

    Dunne is an opportunist who wants to use the lt. gov. office to rail the governor to set himself (or perhaps another Dem.) up to take on Douglas in 2008.

    Now which is better, to take 61K of our money to do the job that has been traditionally done by the lt. gov. (possible more), or to take 61K of our money to wage a 2-year campaign for governor?

  4. “All the lieutenant governor has to do is hang around and be ready in case the governor dies of a heart attack in his lawn chair by the pool.”

    Haik, man, you crack me up.

    I didn’t catch the Freyne thing. I haven’t read Freyne’s blog in the past couple of days. Maybe you can sue him and use the money for your legal defense fund.

  5. Dunne is refusing the Free Press endorsment because he learned that they wrote it while OUTSIDE of their offices. According to Dunne, that means they weren’t really earning their salary and thus, he can’t accept their words as real work. Bummer.

  6. I agree that it is bad politics to go after the salary of your opponant, but I’m pretty struck by the fact that Dubie makes 60k a year!…

    In the time it took you to write that sentence, Lamoillistan (not the whole comment, mind you, the sentence) the interest growth on the US debt grew by a sum larger than Dubie’s annual salary. ($18,500 per second.) In that same amount of time the United States easily spent more than Dubie’s yearly salary on our war of choice in Iraq. ($122,820 per minute.)

    Belly-aching over a 60K salary makes about as much sense as complaining about Food Stamps. Both are tiny drops in the ocean.

    People tend to ignor the ocean and focus on the droplets when it advances their agenda to do so.

    My honest opinion of Dubie’s salary is that it’s fine. 60K is not that much. It may seem like a lot to you and me, but it really isn’t. The guy has to look presentable. You don’t want your high public officials to have to shop at thrift stores and stress about their rent. That would be bad for the stability of the state.

    This tactic by Dunne has been coldly calculated to get the biggest political bang for his buck. He doesn’t ecpect to win, but he knows this issue resonates with a lot of us hungry losers who make under 30K. The bigger his impact on this race, the more of a name he will have made for himself for the next race. He would be well advised to drop this salary bullshit the next time he runs, however.