Speaker Terie Norelli's promise to end the bad blood of the past two years didn't last very long. Shortly after being elected Speaker yesterday, she hired a former Democratic Party Executive Diretor as her chief of staff and then proceeded to fire one the the most wonderful staffers we have, someone who is like a member of the family at the State House. I was so shocked at these developments that I immeidately penned this letter to the Speaker. There goes the promise to myself to not rock the boat but to get along. As always, matters of principle take precedent over my personal comfort, and these two decisions (the second one especially) are outrages.
The chief of staff when Norelli was in control two years ago was Donald Manning of Manchester, husband of high powered attorney Maureen RAICHE Manning.
Bill O'Brien's chief of staff, Greg Moore, was at the State House at the start of yesterday's session (before the swearing in), but was gone by day's end. My only comment--Ah yes, Schadenfreude!! O'Brien's high paid staff lawyer, Ed Mosca, was nowhere to be seen. Ah yes, more heaping helpings of Schadenfreude!!
Here's my missive to Madame Speaker (if you detect a lack of diplomacy, it's the old me shining through, Gott Sei Dank):
UPDATE--Talk about adding insult to injury, I have just learned that not only was Betty "let go", but she was also escorted from the building carrying a box of her personal belongings. This is kind of tactics that most Democrats (and some Republicans) would immediately associate with the O'Brien administration, but as far as I'm concerned, it is worse than anything the former Speaker ever did. Shame, shame, shame on the new administration.
By the way, I use hack in the Howie Carr sense (a reference to the National Radio Talk Show Hall of Fame broadcaster), someone on the public payroll after providing service in other fields.
"December 6, 2012
Dear Madame Speaker,
I am writing to ask you to reconsider your decision to fire your receptionist Betty Lichty. While I am aware that you are entitled to surround yourself with whatever staff you choose, I believe as one of your first decisions, this sends the worst possible message you could possibly send. I had always understood that the receptionist position was non-partisan and did not change with administrations.
Betty was not merely extremely competent. I dare say that she was loved by all who came into contact with her, and coming from me (someone who does not love all staffers), that is saying a great deal.
When I heard of this decision from the media as I walked in the building today (it was the first thing they mentioned), I was stunned. I then made the rounds of the State House, and I can honestly say that many others are stunned as well, and while I won't name names here, this category includes people who have been here a lot longer than both of us; that would be 1996 when we first were elected. I immediately visited your new chief of staff Ryan Mahoney, former Executive Director of the State Democratic Party, sad to say.
His only explanation was, "It was time for a change." My response was, and I quote,”If this is the way you treat people, god save us for the next two years." I had hoped you were planning to staff the House with competent people rather than party officers out for a payback. I trust Betty's replacement will not be another party staffer looking to get on the payroll. Change for no good reason can hardly be deemed a good thing, especially when people’s lives are involved.
This staffing decision flies in the face of yesterday's promises to bring us together in an attempt to repair the damage of the last two years. Betty was the first voice we heard when we contacted the Speaker's office and the first face we saw. I hear she is devastated by your decision to let her go. She deserves better, but more importantly, we as Representatives deserve better and the people of New Hampshire deserve better.
Sincerely, Rep. Steve Vaillancourt
Hills. 15, Manchester, Ward 8
CC: Mahoney, Media, All Reps, Blog"