For Whom They Work
Maybe it’s a small thing, but such ideological tells as the sentence that I’ve emphasized in the following paragraph from an unsigned Projo editorial have been catching my attention more, lately:
It’s no violation of the First Amendment for Mr. Chafee, a liberal, to do what he says he will do: Ban his people from talking in these talk-show echo chambers on state work time. (His administration made an exception for emergencies such as storms; he may find there are lots of emergencies.) After all, you don’t have to work for Mr. Chafee.
Is it stating the obvious to suggest that even public officials appointed by the governor work for the people of the state? It’s not a minor point, in this context: If department heads and other employees of the state’s executive branch of government work for the people, rather than for the public CEO, then it’s not just imprudent, but inappropriate of Governor Chafee to create barriers to their communication with their actual employers.
Inasmuch as they’re not using “state work time” to promote matters completely disconnected from their public jobs, banning them from addressing tens of thousands of talk-radio listeners should be coupled with bans on addressing much smaller audiences in person or by other media. Surely the Providence Journal would object to such executive overreach.