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Montana Politics

Brad Johnson is So Incompetent That His Incompetence is Continuing After He Leaves Office


You’ve got to love Brad Johnson. It takes a special kind of incompetence  to  continue to damage the reputation of the Secretary of State’s office after losing an election. Brad’s latest excellent decision? To give pay raises to his political appointees after losing the election.

From Charles Johnson’s solid reporting, we learn that Brad decided that he should award nine of his political appointees a little walking around money since his inept campaign cost all of them jobs:

New Secretary of State Linda McCulloch has put a hold on issuing nearly $58,000 in “performance awards” that former Secretary of State Brad Johnson had authorized to be paid to his nine departing top appointees.

“This is walking-out-the-door money,” McCulloch said Friday. “I’ve never heard of people getting performance bonuses when they walk out the door.”

Secretary Johnson, always humble and accurate, defended the walking around money:

“It was the appropriate thing to do, given the way those folks had served,” he said. “This office had run better over the last four years than any secretary of state office for decades.”

Indeed. The 2004 election fiasco and Johnson’s failure to address HAVA requirements definitely prove the excellence of Johnson’s work. Montana voters were impressed enough with Johnson’s relentless self-promotion and public relations work that they turned him out of office after one undistinguished term, after all.

It’s an interesting statement about conservative principles, too. I wonder how awarding almost $60,000 to political appointees reconciles with reducing government spending and waste.

Linda McCulloch did absolutely the right thing to hold these checks, and I hope that she holds firm. More broadly, we should eliminate any kind of performance bonuses in state government. Instead of offering additional money or time off for excellent work, perhaps the managers who run state offices should demand excellent work all the time.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • Just now you can branch out from your daily understanding. The real truth comes with being honest with yourself and your goals. Generally this will lead to a mistaken and unproductive life.

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