Doug Burgum pledged to “reinvent state government” and make the “tough calls” to balance the budget when he ran for Governor. As Governor, he was quick to call for deep budget cuts to state agencies. Those cuts led to layoffs, buyouts, and salary freezes for many state employees. With that record as the backdrop, it seems unnecessary, perhaps outrageous, that Doug Burgum is now looking to spend tax dollars on a social life coordinator for himself and the First Lady.
Last week, a state government job listing was published for what has been titled the “Governor’s Residence Manager.” Key duties include coordinating social calendars for the Burgums and serving as the “official greeter” at events. Do taxpayers really need to foot the bill for this? Below you can read the summary of work.
How can it be justified that the State of North Dakota can’t pay a snowplow driver to clear state roads, but they can find the money to pay someone to manage the busy social calendar for the Governor? His message appears to be that parties at the Governor’s Residence take priority over school buses getting children home safely in a small town or volunteer first responders getting to the scene of an accident in adequate time.
There is a Legislative session taking place in a month. Does Burgum have the staff to actually maintain a presence in his second session as Governor? Legislators from both sides of the political aisle noted he was absent and provided little guidance in 2017. His excuse: he was “learning” about the process. It is difficult to reinvent state government without first understanding how it works.
Reinvention of government is a catchy campaign promise. Unfortunately, its implementation has meant cutting services for North Dakotans while expanding luxury and convenience for politicians at the top. Is this really where our priorities rest? Is this what you thought you were voting for?