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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

State's lame-duck leader leaves mess

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Bob Holden has a unique talent for making messes. The lame-duck Governor is twiddling his thumbs and waiting for his ungraceful exit from the Governor's Mansion following his lop-sided defeat in the Democratic primary. But as governor, One-Term Bob still has the power of the state's top post. And he's using that power to take care of some old friends. Oh, by the way, you're paying for the Governor's latest mess.

Holden has appointed his longtime crony Ken Jacobs, D-Columbia, to the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission, a useless three-member board that pays a cool $94 grand to hear workers compensation appeals. Pretty cushy job for that hefty salary.

Well, Jacobs, who was trounced in the primary for lieutenant governor, immediately resigned his Senate seat and took Holden's offer. Granted, odds are that Jacobs will serve only until January when either Matt Blunt or Claire McCaskill takes the hot seat.

But here's the kicker. Jacobs, because of a special treatment for the job, can quit the post today and still receive half of his salary - that would be $47 grand - in pension. Talk about sweetheart deals in the good ol' boy club. This is such a blatant payoff it should make you sick.

Holden's not the first. Carnahan and Ashcroft put their buddies in the same positions. But for someone of Holden's limited popularity and even less respect, you'd think he would act differently. But we've misjudged him before and he didn't let us down this time either.

If you want to know why people get sick and cynical about the political process, Bob Holden is your poster boy. He proves the adage that 50 politicians at the bottom of the ocean is just a good start.

And it gets worse. Jacobs is the "impartial" citizen representative on the Industrial Relations Commission. In that role he is to hear the side of labor and then management and rule accordingly. But Jacob's law firm specializes in workers compensation cases so you kinda know where he comes from. So much for impartiality.

Don't be surprised if Holden gives us more reasons to regret his term as governor. If Holden can be counted on for anything, he can be counted to make more messes.

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