The Cooperative Temper
Among the arguments that candidate Victor Moffitt has made for his election as governor has been an asserted ability to work with the General Assembly without Governor Don Carcieri’s “CEO mentality.” By that phrase, he means dictating policies and taking an overbearing posture. As I’ve written, I disagree with that assessment.
I also disagree when Moffitt brings his “accountant mentality” to the question of school regionalization. In that case, I’d argue that the political dimension is far more significant, to final costs, than the arithmetical dimension. (And the fact that the teacher union heads take Moffitt’s side should be reason for him to question his stance.
It’s interesting, therefore, to see those two threads come together during a Republican primary debate:
“To say that there’s no savings in regionalization is a straight-out lie,” said Moffitt, still fuming after the taping [of a debate with primary opponent John Robitaille] at Rhode Island College ended. …
Robitaille said there has been “no documentation that says it will save us any money,” and evidence that the “cost of administration per student” in the merged Chariho Regional School District is higher than it is in Westerly. Beyond that, “I believe that control of the schools should be at the local level.”
But Moffitt said “anyone in their right mind” would recognize that by whittling 36 school districts down to 4, “we are going to save money … and have less bureaucracy. Even John should understand there will be less bureaucracy.”
The sniping meanness (“even John should understand”) on an issue that is certainly arguable, going so far as to fling accusations of lying is discordant against a message of cooperative leadership. That’s especially true when the candidate is pitting his assertions of common sense against his opponent’s reference to evidence. And this is against a fellow Republican with whom the candidate agrees on most issues.