Baron re Chafee and Gist
Yesterday, Jim Hummel, filling in for WPRO’s Dan Yorke, played excerpts from his interview, to be released in Tuesday’s Hummel Report, with Governor-Elect Chafee. In it, the gov-elect confirms that he remains steadfastly non-committal about the continued tenure of Ed Commissioner, Deborah Gist.
In his “Politics As Usual” column a couple of days earlier, the Pawtucket Times’ Jim Baron, one of Rhode Island’s gem reporters but by no means right leaning or pro management, had an interesting suggestion for the gov-elect.
Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee could kill a lot of birds with one stone if, sometime before he officially takes office, he threw his arm around Deborah Gist and said, “she’s my commissioner!”
One, he would be making a positive step toward retaining the services of someone who – by almost everybody’s reckoning – is a terrific commissioner: bright, energetic, full of ideas and absolutely unafraid to charge ahead with any plan she thinks is in the best interest of school kids.
Two, it would shut up all those people who insist that Chafee is hopelessly in the pockets of the teachers unions. O.K., it wouldn’t shut them up, nothing probably will. But it would make it harder for them to make their case to anyone except each other.
Three, once Gist and the unions get a few more confrontations under their belts, they will probably come to understand one another and be able to work with one another. I have see this in many cases of what seemed to be intractable disputes between labor and management, eventually, the two sides learn to live with each other, even if they never become bosom buddies. Gist staying doesn’t mean the unions are going to lose every battle, they will win their share, they’ll just have to fight a bit more vigorously on some.
Four, even if the unions, don’t like the move, they will have four years to get over it.