Thursday, November 01, 2007

More government dysfunction

Reported in the Statesman Journal today: Dan Gardner at BOLI sued the City of Salem because a hotel construction project in an urban renewal area wasn't paying prevailing wage. They lost the suit, because it wasn't a public project. Just getting some kind of subsidy doesn't make it a public project.

The State sued Salem for $1.5 million plus maxiumum penalties, and apparently BOLI did everything it could to drag out the litigation and make it as expensive as possible for Salem. But they forgot one thing: to have a rational legal theory for the lawsuit.

Judge Mary Merten James rebuked BOLI, saying: "At no stage in the proceedings was BOLI able to articulate the factual or legal basis for its claim."

That is actually pretty hard to do. Sue someone and not be able to explain a factual or legal basis for the lawsuit?

It just goes to show what a puppet Dan Gardner is for the unions (as if that distinguishes him from every other highly-placed Democrat in the state.)

Salem sued to make the state pay the legal fees, more than $700K, and Judge James agreed. So, this little dalliance in union-shilling will cost the state more than $700K in legal fees that it must pay Salem.

Terrific. One government harassing another government with a spurious lawsuit. This state is so screwed.


Anonymous said...

Not to mention the salary and benefit costs of all the government lawyers - on both sides of the case! If this were the Wild West, Dan Gardner would be tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail.

DonS said...

Arrogance and conceit in Oregon State Government. Meanwhile the fuel wasted on the I-5 bottleneck at the Rose Quarter has destroyed another glacier. How can a governor who has an IQ above 120 be so foolish? Dan Gardner does work for the governor doesn’t he?

Jack Roberts said...

"Dan Gardner does work for the governor doesn’t he?"

No, the state labor commissioner is elected by the people. He does not answer to the governor.

When I was labor commissioner, I tried to eliminate this as an elected office (only 5 state still elect this position) but I couldn't get anywhere, even with a Republican legislature. Now when my fellow Republicans complain to me about the current labor commissioner, I just smile.

Anonymous said...

Why would you smile about an event that stands out as one of your signature policy failures?

Jack Roberts said...

I smile because it's nicer than saying, "Where were you when I was trying to save you from this, dumb***?"

Also, for those interested in this issue, the Court of Appeals just ruled against Gardner in another attempt to stretch the reach of the prevailing wage laws, this time against the PDC in Portland. See

Anonymous said...

Neither's an honest response. An apology would be.

Rob Kremer said...

Jack -
Would it change much if the governor were to appoint the BOLI commissioner? I guess it would if we had a Republican, at least.

Anon - be critical all you want, but Jack Roberts' tenure at BOLI was characterized by a complete flatline in the cost of the bureaucracy over 8 years. The agency, under Jack, was not out there suing governments for not paying high enough wages.

And failing to convince the legislature to make the position appointed rather than elected is hardly a "signature" policy failure.