Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hunt, Rand, power and paroles

Ben Niolet of the News & Observer noted in Dome the other day that Chris Hayes of the Civitas Institute had turned up an interesting factoid questioning how long Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland and the Senate's majority leader as well as rules committee chair, has contemplated taking a job on the parole commission. Rand surprised almost everyone a week ago when he announced he would step down from the Senate by year's end -- and a short while later Gov. Bev Perdue announced she would name him chairman of the NC Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission. It's a full-time job that pays $100,000.

Here's what Ben posted on Dome, followed by a recollection about Gov. Jim Hunt and how he remade the parole commission early in his first term as governor when he discovered he didn't have any immediate openings on the commission to name appointees to:

Rand's retirement plan?
How long has Sen. Tony Rand been thinking about leaving the state Senate for the state's parole board?
Civitas' Chris Hayes has dug up an interesting fact. In 2005, Rand, a Fayetteville Democrat, sponsored a bill that would have changed the structure of the Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission. Rand's bill meant to change the panel from three full-time members to one full-time member and two part-time members.
The bill passed the Senate unanimously on April 13, 2005 and was later incorporated into the 2005 budget bill to be signed into law.
I guess the question becomes, is this just a coincidence or did Rand have this all planned out years ago?
On the other hand, Rand was a powerful force in the Senate and has his name attached to an overwhelming majority of bills that were adopted.

As I've noted previously, back in 1977, when Hunt was in his first year as governor and I had just arrived in Raleigh as capital correspondent for the Greensboro Daily News, the parole commission was chaired and staffed by appointees of Republican Gov. Jim Holshouser, who had served from 1973-1977. Instead of waiting for vacancies to occur, Hunt's allies in the legislature went right to the point. They introduced and passed legislation that abolished the old parole commission and then created a new parole commission whose appointees would serve at the pleasure of the governor. It was an exercise in the wielding of quick power -- so much so that when the bill was introduced, I called then-Parole Commission Chairman Jack Scism for a comment, only to find out that neither Scism nor any of his colleagues knew the bill was coming or what it did.


Anonymous said...

With Democrats like Rand and Bev in charge, expect more Patrick Burrises.

Killing in the name of politics - the NC Dems' motto.

Anonymous said...

Again, the VILE Jim Hunt IS the grandfather of modern CORRUPTION and CRIMINALITY in NC! That loiwyer is an abomination to the once great state of NC!

Anonymous said...

I would be more surprised if Rand HADN'T engineered this. I'm glad to see his corrupt reign end, but I don't like the idea of paying him $100k of taxpayer money to play golf. I highly doubt he will work "full-time" hours.

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