August 27, 2007

Politicians vs. Appointees

This little blurb in the Buffalo News over the weekend got me thinking. Is it better to have politicians themselves sitting on all these different boards or are appointees who are somewhat insulated from day to day politics better suited? Think of things like IDA, NFTA, Bridge Commission, NCCC, etc., etc. Pros and cons both ways.

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, still new to the job, has been fielding some questions of late as to why the comptroller should be the sole trustee of the state’s huge $154 billion pension fund.

He’s a pretty persuasive guy. After running through the accountability and legality arguments for this paper’s editorial board, he got to the one that hooked us — if New York scrapped its tradition of comptroller independence in favor of a board of directors, just who do you think would get to appoint the board members?

So, New York politics being what New York politics is, maybe it is best to just leave well enough alone"


Big Daddy said...

I believe if you have good apointees, even if they have political ties, they are often better on these boards than elected politicians.

Take the IDA. Setting aside AES for a second, I believe politicians would not act fast enough on economic development applications, especially if they were the least bit controversial. Yet, fast action is exactly what is required by those making economic development decisions.

Scott Leffler said...

It's difficult, because while it would be nice to have people who can be held accountable (the pols themselves), they can't spend all their time sitting on committees.

And Big Daddy's point is also good. Sometimes what's politically expedient is not the "right" thing to do ... so we'd get foot dragging in order to appease the "do nothings."

Just my 2 cents. Free of charge as always.

Turk 182 said...

I prefer appointees who have to go through some sort of vetting process. Any state appointee has to go through a state police background many politicans would pass that?

Plus, as Big Daddy said, you need people who can make important but difficult decisions in a timely manner....think state budget and then you'll know how well elected officials do that.