Sonia Pitt was properly fired from Mn/DOT for several violations. Read the Pioneer Press accounts here and here and here and the Star Tribune report.
Governor Pawlenty agreed that the firing was proper according to this Press article.
And Governor Pawlenty has called for an investigation to ascertain if Pitt had proper supervision at Mn/DOT (Press accounts here and here and Star Tribune).
Given the vast number of state employees, perhaps every day there are employee firings and/or disciplines of varying degree. This one made the news because it was high profile. A collapsing bridge made her conspicuous by her absence.
Government waste and even fraud is legendary. Taxpayers hate it, as we should. To be fair, we must recognize that the vast majority of state government employees are honest and hard-working, but a few bad apples can make the whole barrel appear rotten. And many a supervisor has been driven to misery by a wayward employee who is protected very much from firing.
What Pitt did is bad enough, but the real odious ones are the politicians, the supercilious ones. According to the Press article, "Senate Assistant Majority Leader Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, said Pitt's firing was welcome "but three months late"." That’s easy to say to score political points for herself against the Republican administration; she probably would have said little or nothing if it were a Democrat administration.
The investigation should have been lengthy in order to be thorough. There was a massive amount of documents to review and there were numerous people to interview. The investigation needed to be fair to Pitt and the state needed to be correct in its assessment in order to avoid an employment lawsuit. Mn/DOT needed to do the personnel investigation properly so that no one could say it was not thorough. Thus Senator Clark’s criticism of Mn/DOT’s timetable is self-serving.
Another odious politician in this affair is Jeremy Kalin (D-17B), concerning whom we have posted several times on the issue. Like a vulture from beginning to end in this case, he has been waiting for Pitt to fall. For a freshman legislator, he sure has thrust himself into the limelight through his web site and local paper declarations and pandering after Twin Cities papers and radio regarding Pitt and the bridge collapse to get his name in the media. This is self-serving at the expense of a failing state employee and a state tragedy that took 13 lives and injured scores. He has played partisan politics with calamity for his own personal benefit. He has demonstrated clearly that he puts politics (especially his own) before people, contrary to his mantra.
Kalin was salivating over Pitt’s spending of tax dollars for personal gain. Even though she spent tax dollars for herself and cost the state more to investigate her misdeeds, that total amount is nothing compared to the tax dollars legislators spend. They can bellyache about Pitt, but think nothing of appropriating billions of our dollars, much of which is wasted or has dubious purposes. This last session, the Dems, including Kalin, approved bills that would have cost the taxpayers more than $4 billion if Governor Pawlenty had not vetoed over 50 bills.
This highway robbery makes Pitt look like a small time operator. It’s Kalin and the big time Democrats who should be fired. In order to fund "local property tax relief" for some, Kalin was willing to reach brazenly and shamelessly into the pockets of 61 Chisago County "rich" taxpayers to fund it. What’s the difference between Kalin and Pitt? As an employee, her acts were illegal; as a legislator, he can make wrong legal.