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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



Douglas staff takes Shumlin to task

Gov. Jim Douglas’ senior staff unleashed a torrent of complaints Friday against Senate President Pro Tempore Peter Shumlin, taking him to task for inaccurate statements he has made in recent days.

A couple of things are at play here:

1) This comes in the same week a couple of people publicly said Shumlin is interested in running for governor in 2010.

2) Shumlin is prone to exaggeration.

Six agency and department heads sent Shumlin letters objecting to things he had said to the media.

Shumlin’s aide said he concedes misstating one fact, but stands by the others.

Finance Commissioner Jim Reardon said Shumlin erroneously told The Bennington Banner that the Legislature would save 14 percent of its budget by cutting two weeks off the session. It’s actually 11 percent, Reardon said. That may seem like a small difference, but it adds up to real money, he said.

Alex MacLean, Shumlin’s aide, said Shumlin misspoke in that case. "I find it very difficult to believe the governor has never misspoken," she said. MacLean said Shumlin would not be available late Friday to comment.

Among the other complaints from the administration was another comment he made to The Bennington Banner that "three-quarters of our roads and bridges are in bad shape."

Transportation Secretary David Dill wrote to correct Shumlin: "About 18.5 percent of our bridges are structurally deficient, while an additional 17 percent are functionally obsolete."

MacLean said Shumlin stands by his statement. "Most of our roads are in bad shape," she said.

Tax Commissioner Tom Pelham, Economic Development Commissioner Betsy Bishop, Tourism Commissioner Bruce Hyde and Human Resources Commissioner David Herlihy also sent Shumlin letters complaining about statements he’d made.

"It’s frankly shocking that the governor’s highly paid professionals are using time to play these political games," MacLean said.

If all our technical skills hold together, you can read the letters below.

— Terri Hallenbeck

So 1 in 3 bridges in Vermont are "structurally deficient" or "functionally obsolete" and the Governor thinks that the problem is Shumlin???

Jim Douglas -- you've been the Governor for a LONG TIME! Why won't you fix the problem??

This is a huge safety issue!
Good ole Soapbox Shumlin.

Remember in 2007 when all he talked about was climate change...
Shumlin is all about Shumlin. He does want to run for Governor so Markowitz and Racine better get out of the way!
Obama says, "Yes we can."

Jim Douglas says, "No we can't."

He's the "No-No" governor.
Obama says, "Yes we can."

Douglas says, "No we can't."

Governor "No-No" I can't wait to vote in 2010. You have my "No" vote for Governor No-No.
Shumlin's a liar. Everyone knows it. What's most shocking is that Democrats keep supporting him and electing him as their leader. That says a lot.
The key statement above? "Shumlin is prone to exaggeration"
Douglas is the best leader this state has had in a long time. Shumlins comments seem selfserving and are presented without solutions.
I hope we don't have to listen to him every week until the next election!
Shumlin has been in Montpelier as long as anyone NOW he is addressing these issues.

It is all about him not Vermont.
Those letters are fantasic! They are from Vermonters, about Vermonters working for the State of Vermont every day. I salute those people and it is a shame that someone feels they need to run down hard working Vermonters to further their political career.
Shame on Peter Shumlin!
Looks as if Governor Douglas has re- activated his Truth and Re-election squad again.
Wasn't Shumlin the one (along with Symington) who waited until Dubie left town so he could pursue prosecution of Bush - in opposition of Dubie? Whether it was right or wrong to pursue Bush, I will never trust Shumlin again. I think that move showed he is a sneaky opportunist with a personal agenda.
He is what he is and always will be.
This Ms. McLean must be mortified having to cover for the emperor and his no clothes thing.
This is the direct result of the two-year term: An executive and legislative branch that are forced to be in campaign mode by each other's actions.

For those who complain that Douglas is in constant campaign mode, let's recap. Days after the 2006 elections, Shumlin made "global warming" the signature issue of the session, despite the fact that neither he nor anyone specifically campaigned on that issue. He then spent the next two years maneuvering to get Douglas to veto a bill with the words "climate change" in the title in hopes that someone (presumably himself) would be able to use the issue in the 2008 election season.

Fast forward to 2008: Days after the election, and before either he or Douglas has even been sworn in, Doug Racine announces he's running for Governor in 2010.

Anybody else think it's time for constitutional officers and state senators to be elected to four-year terms?
Shumlin is a disgrace. He is a pathetic waste of oxygen and incapable of accomplishing anything productive. He is all politics and no substance.

Its unbelievable that he can't accept that his political career is finished. I wish someone would put a fork in him - because he's done.

The Senate needs to get rid of this guy and replace him with leader who has the respect and trust of his colleagues. John Campbell or Doug Racine would be so much better.
We really need some leadership here not squabbling.
So Governor Douglas has enlisted his taxpayer funded campaign team to attack the Legislature - Shame on you Jim Douglas!

Douglas very conveniently forgets that there are 3 separate and equal branches of govenrment.

Wow - this is so bogus - what do you expect Douglas' political appointees to do!

Jim Douglas' administration is looking more and more corrupt!

Corrupt of ideas...
Corrupt of vision...
Corrupt of truthfulness...
Corrupt of ethics!
Shumlin is the master!!!
Douglas is a master at using taxpayer supported, state employees as his own private campaign team. This latest venture brings this political art form to a new team level. Previously, it has been one appointee at a time issuing the complaint. Office holder burn-out is really begining to set in. Maybe this is the beginning of the end?
This action by the Douglas Administration is outrageous...

He's nitpicking over minor details!

I wonder if the Governor is taking 2 weeks off unpaid!

Oh yeah, he took a 5% pay cut after his salary has increased double inflation since Dean's last year!
Shumlin is a shell of a man.
Jim Douglas has a very, very limited pool of people to pick from to do his bidding. His fraternity of toadies is it for him. That's why you never seee any new faces or hear fresh ideas. The pool is stagnant. It has been for years. Jockey here, jockey there is getting pretty old.

If I were campaigning against Mr. Douglas I would tell Vt citizens that his inner circle is killing our state.
Shumlin is a liar. He personifies the image of sleazy politician. I, too, don't understand why the Dems keep making him president pro tem--and I'm a Democrat!
I totally agree!!
The Governor and his paid political team (aka political appointees) are the ones deceiving Vermonters.

For instance:
Jim Douglas says the state workforce pay and benefits are unsustainable - yet he gives his political team increases beyond inflation and bonuses.

Jim Douglas says we must reduce the number of state workers - yet he hasincreased the number of exempt employees faster than state workers numbers and he just yesterday he gave another one of his supporters (Tom Evslin) a new position that never existed before.

Jim Douglas own salary has more than doubled inflation from Gov Dean's last year in office.

Jim Douglas says we need to reduce property taxes by killing school budgets - then he proposes a shift of $60 million dollars in expenses to the ed fund that were never there before.
When is a fee, a fee!
And, when is a fee, a tax!


A fee is a fee if the Governor proposes it.

A fee is a tax if the legislature proposes it.

Jim Douglas loves to raise fees on Vermonters paid for almost 100% by Vermonters INSTEAD of raising some taxes which are paid for by 35-40% of out of staters.

Jim Douglas is your friend - NOT!
Obama says, "Yes we can."

Jim Douglas says, "No we can't."

Shumlin says, "Yes. Wait, no. Er, yes. Where's the microphone?"
Where is our boy Shap in all this?
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