Tuesday, June 12, 2007

McCarthy Retires, Reminds Us Why We Wanted HIm To.

Finally. County Executive James McCarthy finally announced today what everyone with ears has knows for months -- that he is retiring. His last day will be June 30. This all happened in a previously announced press conference this morning. ABJ has the story, along with posted audio and video.

This could have been a time to reflect on his many accomplishments -- restoring some measure of trust in the office after Tim Davis's troubled tenure, keeping Summit County solvent in challenging economic times, overseeing projects like the new county courthouse and economic development deals like Bass Pro Shops.

But no, this was a time to remind people of another element of McCarthy's management, his political tone-deafness. ABJ reports that McCarthy said:

    [A] "pretty big incentive for me at this point" is that he has accrued enough service to receive about 91 percent of his salary upon retirement. "I thought, 'That's a pretty good number,'"he said.

    His current pay rate is about $114,357.
If you think that sounds bad, you're right. If you think the ABJ cherry picked something to make him sound bad, you're wrong. In fact if you listen to the announcement he spends at least a minute talking about his pension -- how he bought this time and that time and got 34 years of service up to 40 years of credit. At least a minute on that, though it feels like an hour.

What's more, at the beginning of his announcement he explains that he's been no-commenting the rumors of his retirement because he wanted to make sure that his benefits would continue first.

Jim, on behalf of everyone who argues that government used wisely is a powerful tool for making life better, thanks for making the effort that much harder. Yes, your bit about public service being a high calling was nice and all, but after telling the world about how lucrative that service has been and will continue to be for you, it falls a flat.

Whether it was dubious hires or weird development ideas or his high-profile fights with County Council, McCarthy has always shown a talent for making even his supporters shake their heads in wonder. We will see whether he passes the office off to good hands, but certainly Jim tin ear for public sentiment will not be missed.


Kelly said...

I enjoy your blog.

Village Green said...

Hey, McCarthy is only practicing that most-wished for "transparency" -- he wants us to know what goes on inside his head all day long as he governs.

Scott Piepho said...


Thanks for stopping by. I'll keep an eye on what you do as well.

Scott Piepho said...



I don't recall, when he hired Christine Congrove did he say "I am hiring Ms. Congrove because she is the daughter of a City Councilman and therefore it is politically advantageous to do so"? Now that would be transparency.