News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Every stalling tactic in the book
Mar 24, 2014 - By Randy Tucker
What the state is doing to keep Cindy Hill from returning to power would make former North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith and his four-corners offense proud.
No analogies, metaphors or similes. Just an open question to Gov. Matt Mead. Governor, why the never-ending stall to keep Cindy Hill from retaking her constitutionally elected office?
Governor, please answer this question. Why not allow Hill and her staff access to all the records at the WDE, including staff e-mails, contracts, correspondence and all financial dealings that she has the constitutional right to oversee? Specifically those between the WDE and the federal government.
What could it hurt, Governor? She wouldn't be able to take any action on the contracts written, staff assigned and reports generated. She would just have access to the information contained within.
As a further step, I'm filing a Freedom of Information request to release those same documents to the public.
If you weren't aware, this is an election year. Because your office is of the people, not above the people, I'm sure you'll have no problem in releasing this public information. It can only help your cause and exonerate your office among the wide majority of voters who question what's happened in the Hill case.
How many times has the Texas Legislature passed and governor signed legislation that outlaws abortion in the Lone Star State only to have some lower court judge immediately place an injunction against it moments later? It happens in California, Montana, North Dakota, Georgia and all the other states, but that's not how it's done currently in Wyoming.
Rather than an injunction halting further implementation of an unconstitutional act, as in other states, the opposite is true in Wyoming.
It was clear from the start that Senate File 104 was a personnel vendetta against Hill, but it has evolved into something much more insidious. Rather than halting this travesty at its inception via the traditional lower court injunction, it took over a year for common citizens to challenge and successfully overturn the unconstitutional act. The Wyoming Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in January.
While it took just 36 hours to get Hill out of power once SF104 was passed, it is abundantly clear that the state will employ every legal tactic in keeping her from ever taking the duties of office back.
The latest ruling by Laramie County District Court Judge Robert Campbell is just another step in the delay tactics employed by the state -- tactics the Wyoming Supreme Court clearly told the governor to stop in its ruling that his actions were unconstitutional.
Campbell ruled that the parties involved have an additional three weeks to determine what is and what is not constitutional in SF104. While that may appear judicious on the surface, that is not what the original suit filed to challenge SF104 was about.
Making these "adjustments" to the original case is akin to asking people living next door to a couple in a divorce proceeding to determine who should get the family dog. In other words, its way out of their jurisdiction. It not germane to the issue at hand.
The three weeks is annoying enough, but the real time frame extends far beyond that.
The attorney general's office has been woefully inadequate in this matter from the start, disseminating bad advice for the governor to follow at every turn, but it does know how to delay justice. When the AG fails again, the governor will be requesting additional time to challenge the ruling.
That takes the issue into late May. By that time Speaker Tom Lubnau, Senate President Tony Ross probably will have completed new legislation during a special legislative session that "fixes" the language in SF104 and makes the removal of Hill fit the Wyoming Supreme Court's ruling.
Any challenge will come once again from common citizens, and because that will take at least a year the governor will be able to "run out the clock."
It all meshes nicely, doesn't it?
That's the magic of having a gang of attorneys with the AG's office joining together to create confusion, subterfuge and stall tactics that would make former basketball coach Dean Smith of North Carolina and his mind numbing four-corners offense proud.
It may be clever, and it might fit within the edges of legality, but something just doesn't smell right.
Maybe it's the longtime Arizona connection between State Sen. Hank Coe and appointed education director Richard Crandall. Maybe it's Crandall's $17,000 a month salary that soon will increase since he's done such a great job for the good ol' boys.
Maybe it's the millions paid to education contractors, millions that don't help a single child or a single teacher but just inflate the lifestyles of those far removed from education.
Maybe it's just the vindictive tone taken by key legislators against Hill.
Maybe it's the vehemence aimed at the children and teachers of Wyoming by those same legislators.
But a couple of things are definite. The first is that not a single person of the hundreds I've spoken with on SF104 supports the idea of altering the constitution to take away their vote.
The second should bring it home. A Vietnam veteran called to tell me to keep writing on this issue. In his words, "I spent four years defending my right to vote, and I don't want any politician to take it away."
The primaries are just a few months away. Don't forget who the bad guys are in this ongoing, sickening drama.
Editor's note: Staff writer Randy Tucker is a retired educator.