Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Despicably Self-Serving

A few months back, I attended a Federalist Society luncheon downtown. As is the norm at these events, one sits with many one may not know, or know well, but the family-style Chinese at Tony Cheng's promotes discussion. On this occasion, I sat down at a table with, among others, an older gentleman, and we eventually exchanged names, and idle chat.

Our discussion became more focused when we talked about where we live. When I mentioned where I live, he immediately asked "What do you think of Sean Connaughton?"

I was somewhat apprehensive. While not shy about giving my opinions about Chairman Sean, this was a pleasant, informal luncheon setting, and I didn't want to gratuitously give offense, particularly since my experience is that people feel strongly about Chairman Sean: either they love him, or they hold him in contempt.

So I measured my words, saying something to the effect that "Well, my opinions of Sean are pretty well known. As a taxpayer, I'm a little sick of paying for his spending spree. And it strikes me that his ambition exceeds his ability."

My luncheon companion told me "It was a trick question. I don't think much of him, either."

What was even more fascinating was what he said next, offering that he had once written a recommendation letter for Chairman Sean, about which he now was dubious.

Given that he was a Virginia voter, my response was this: "Well, here's the $64 question: did you vote for him for Lieutenant Governor?"

The answer: "Well, I voted for him. But I didn't send him money."

Interesting. Particularly in light of Chairman Sean's now-apparent machinations over his resignation as Chairman of the Prince William County Board of County Supervisors. It seems that, while Chairman Sean was long ago confirmed by the Senate to his presidential appointment, and dated his resignation letter on 5 or 6 September, but that its effective date was not until today, Tuesday, 12 September. Jim Riley credibly reports that he would have had to have done so before he would have been sworn into his Federal office, on Wednesday, 6 September.

So, the question remains: why did Chairman Sean time his resignation so as to make it apparently impossible to conduct the special election to choose his successor on the same date as the general election on 7 November?

No answers have been forthcoming from Chairman Sean. Frankly, I find it difficult to believe that it was simply so he could preside over remembrances on 11 September.

Whatever the reason, the facts are these:

Chairman Sean could have resigned so as to allow a special election to be conducted contemporaneously with the general election in November.

Chairman Sean could have long ago announced an effective date for his resignation.

Chairman Sean's resignation letter was apparently dated 5 or 6 September, giving an effective date for his resignation of 12 September, but was not transmitted to the appropriate authorities. No explanation given.

It could have been written weeks earlier.

Chairman Sean has offered nothing but vague, platitudinous BS to explain his delay.

Turnout at a special election held other than in November will all but certainly be lower than during a November general election.

Prince William taxpayers will be stuck with a large bill ($40 to 45 thousand, or more) to pay for a special election.

Having offered no good, or even bad, reason for his behavior, speculation is running rampant as to the reason why Chairman Sean has behaved in this way, some of it here. Perhaps there is one thing that all can agree upon:

Chairman Sean has behaved despicably.


Anonymous said...

Instead of naming the plaza at the new county building after Connaughton, perhaps Nohe should recommend this:


Craig said...

James, FYI, the judge issued the writ and the election will be on Nov 7th. The announcement is supposed to happen at 3:00 PM today.

James Young said...

That's great news, Craig! If so, I'm both impressed, and may have been too hasty in my judgments regarding Chairman Sean. Do you know who the judge was?