Embattled Governor Losing Control As Union Contract Negotiations Break Down, Investigation Launched Into Allegations Of Misconduct By His Administration, Lawsuits Threaten To Unravel His Budget, And His Poll Numbers Plummet
CONCORD – Governor John Lynch is quickly losing control of state governmentas charges of unethical tactics in contract negotiations, allegations of potential misconduct in the awarding of a no-bid railroad contract, and the filing of major lawsuits have rocked his Administration and threaten to unravel his disastrous budget. The Governor’s job approval ratings have plummeted in recent weeks and his disapproval ratings have skyrocketed as voters have become disillusioned with his failed leadership and fiscal mismanagement.
“After years of dodging the critical issues and the tough decisions, Governor Lynch finds himself in a crisis of his own making. Today, New Hampshire is facing enormous challenges that have been made worse by over four years of irresponsibility and inaction by the Lynch Administration.” said NHGOP Communications Director Ryan Williams. “John Lynch’s inability to address the serious problems facing New Hampshire and his failure to provide any leadership during these tough times proves that now, more than ever, this state needs a new governor.”
Yesterday, the Lynch Administration’s contract negotiations with the New Hampshire State Employees’ Association (SEA) collapsed after the union accused the Governor of unethical negotiation tactics. The SEA, which has been without a contract since the Governor missed a June 30th deadline to finalize a new one, is planning to file an unfair labor practice complaint against Lynch.
The Lynch Administration has also been at the center of an investigation into potential ethical misconduct committed during the awarding of a state railroad contract. The Attorney General’s office is investigating serious allegations that members of the Democrat House leadership team improperly pressured Transportation Commissioner George Campbell to award a no-bid state contract to the Milford-Bennington Railroad Company. This company is currently owned by Representative Peter Leishman (D-Peterborough), a member of the powerful House Finance Committee which has significant influence over Commissioner Campbell’s department budget. An article in the July 12, 2009 edition of the Nashua Telegraph reports that Governor Lynch personally intervened to make sure that “any kinks in the [contract] would be ironed out.”
Governor Lynch’s disastrous state budget is also on the brink of collapse as major lawsuits threaten to unravel his irresponsible revenue schemes. The Superior Court will soon rule on the ownership of the $110 million that Lynch has tried to steal from the New Hampshire Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association (JUA.) If the court rules against the Lynch Administration, the state will face another budget crisis as the FY 2010-2011 budget and the recently completed FY 2008-2009 budget will immediately be thrown out of balance. Local government leaders are also moving forward with a separate lawsuit to stop the Governor from reducing the state’s share of the retirement contribution rate for municipal employees and downshifting costs to local taxpayers.
As a result of his failed leadership and fiscal mismanagement, Governor Lynch’s poll numbers have plummeted in recent months. Recent surveys conducted by the University of New Hampshire, the American Research Group and National Research Inc. all confirm that Lynch’s approval ratings have dropped by double digits, while his disapproval ratings have skyrocketed to the highest levels ever recorded. National Research’s Granite Survey also reveals that 47% of New Hampshire citizens currently feel the state has “gotten off on the wrong track” under the Lynch Administration while only 41% believe it’s headed on the right track. In April 2009, only 33% of New Hampshire citizens thought the state was on the wrong track, while 55% believed it was on the right track.
Polls also show that more people are less likely to vote to re-elect Governor Lynch because of his decision to break his word and legalize same-sex marriage. Lynch had previously pledged to oppose same-sex marriage during his gubernatorial campaigns, but folded under pressure from the radical wing of his party and legalized it in June.
Governor Lynch’s problems only look to get worse in the future as he begins to make plans for the FY 2012-2013 budget. This budget will start off with an immediate $500 million deficit due to his irresponsible use of one-time money in the current budget, and will present the Governor with an unprecedented fiscal crisis.