House Speaker Bill O’Brien, always one to grandstand in the most provocative fashion, has headed off on a witch hunt demanding that executive department heads “investigate” and report back by July 30 whether any family members are working in their agencies.
This is not some totalitarian state in which a single legislator can bully executive department heads into compliance although this is certainly not the first time O’Brien has disgraced the office he holds by attempting to bully those around him.
Before O’Brien seeks to control executive departments, he could do the taxpayers of the state a favor by getting his own House in order.
We may not know how many employees are on the payroll in agencies, but we know for a fact that O’Brien has one employee under his very nose who is there due to nepotism.
Shannon Bettencourt, who according to House records is paid $45,458.27 a year as House media relations and constituent service specialist, is not only the wife of disgraced former Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt, of Salem, she is also pregnant with DJ’s child.
Thus there can be no doubt that there was (and most likely still is) a sexual relationship with someone paid by O’Brien and the man who until late spring was the number two Republican in the House.
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
This is so obvious an area of nepotism that any sentient human being would have to wonder why O’Brien would make an issue of this. It’s kind of like him ranting and raving about voter fraud when his own son was proven to have committed the most blatant type of voter fraud.
Have you no shame, Mister Speaker?
Shannon Bettencourt is filling a position which under former Speaker Terie Norelli was a part-time position. With the House not in session and with Speaker O’Brien having drastically curtailed the amount of time Representatives can spend tending to their constituents, only someone dedicated to grade A nepotism and grad A cronyism could justify keeping Mrs. Bettencourt on the payroll for the summer.
The since departed Cissy Taylor, a former Union Leader employee, was filling the same role for Speaker Norelli. However, Taylor was released when the House session ended.
Mrs. Bettencourt has not been laid off, at least not prior to her role as gate keeper in banning Concord Monitor reporters from an O’Brien press conference two weeks ago.
Even as Speaker O’Brien continues to thwart State Representatives in their ability to do the job they were elected to do, he keeps a staff aboard way out of proportion to what other Speakers have done.
When Norelli was Speaker, she had a chief of staff (Donald Manning), but no high paid policy advisor. The first thing O’Brien did when he became Speaker was augment Chief of Staff Bob Mead with Greg Moore in a costly advisor position. (Of course, Mead was later demoted and Moore moved into the Chief of Staff position, and Mead then left completely).
With very little House business in the summer, why do we need to keep Greg Moore on board at a salary of $80,000 a year?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Of course, the House Finance Committee and joint Fiscal Committee oversee the House budget, but who sits on those committees?
You guessed it, people appointed by Bill O’Brien. When I sat on Division I during budget time last year, I was alone in challenging such bloated expenditures.
Oh yes, I was subsequently removed from the Finance Committee and slurred in every way possible by the Speaker.
You better believe there’s nepotism in New Hampshire state government, and it begins right in Speaker O’Brien’s office.