Discover more from Oklahoma Columnist, by Clay Horning
You mean he doesn't show up at work, either?
Ryan Walters exposed by outgoing OSDE grant manager, who only wished for the tools and resources, including his presence, that would allow her to do her job
There are a few Republicans in our state who every so often indicate they’re not inclined to go down with the ship.
Indeed, once in a while, they take aim at the dummies, the lack of seriousness and corruption in their midst.
Attorney general Gentner Drummond does it all the time, most recently inserting himself and his office between tweedle-dee and tweedle-dumbest, governor Kevin Stitt and state superintendent Ryan Walters, and their dream of ending separation of church and state as we know it.
Drummond did that by filing suit in the Oklahoma Supreme Court to invalidate the contract granted St. Isidore of Seville, a would-be virtual public Catholic charter school.
Stitt called it a “stunt.”
Drummond countered with the Oklahoma Constitution, which states …
“No public money or property shall ever be appointed, applied, donated or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such.”
Boom goes the dynamite.
Labor commissioner Leslie Osborn is another one.
Memorably, she took on her own party’s silliness in an op-ed appearing in both The Oklahoman and Tulsa World, is an advocate for open primaries and, as an officeholder, runs her department without incident, managing to piss off nobody with the possible exception of lunatic fringers in her own party.
State auditor Cindy Bird is another, who went where her audit took her, regardless of who it exposed, primarily Stitt and Walters, and whose work may still be the foundation toward future actions eventually liberating Stitt, but more likely Walters, from their elected positions or, who knows, put them in the crosshairs of the law.
There is also state representative Mark McBride, from Moore, who has previously shown a willingness to lock horns with Walters.
“I want to put this man in a box,” McBride once said. “I want to focus on public education instead of his crazy destruction of public education.”
It may be time for McBride to get that box out again. Yet, before we go that direction, let’s mention something Drummond, Osborne, Bird, McBride and about 2,000,000 Oklahomans do most days, Monday through Friday, at least.
They go to work.
They may not be Cal Ripken about it, going 2,632 days without a miss, but they go to work. They do their job.
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Well, we probably had suspicions already, what with all the appearances on “news” channels requiring the jumping on of planes, and all the vehicle tweets everybody, even his supporters, believe make him look like a twit.
But now we know.
Ryan Walters can’t even do that.
He can’t even make it to work.
Don’t take it from me.
Take it from Pamela Smith-Gordon, who couldn’t wait to do Walters’ bidding as the state education department’s new grant manager when she arrived on the job four months ago, but who resigned effective Monday because, among other things, Walters’ utter lack of availability made it impossible for her to do her job.
Here’s a piece of her resignation letter’s first paragraph:
“Superintendent Walters, I am genuinely excited about the direction you are advocating to improve education in Oklahoma, and I share your values and aspirations! However, after several months of waiting for improvements within our organization, it has become clear that I cannot be part of this administration.”
Gee, that’s funny.
A true believer who wants to do right by her boss, but hasn’t been given the tools to do right by him?
“While desperately wanting to support you, the lack of leadership and availability within our own OSDE is impossible to ignore. Superintendent Walters, your absence, and the refusal to meet with your staff sends a concerning message that we may not hold value in your eyes.
“I hope that this can be attributed to inexperience rather than a personal political agenda as this would not be in the best interest of Oklahoma's children, teachers, and dedicated OSDE employees.”
Is she trolling him?
I think she may be trolling him.
I believe Smith-Gordon’s an able writer of more than grants.
She wasn’t done.
“If your physical presence is not required for leadership, then the question arises as to why the position exists with a salary attached to it. We need active leadership to ensure that the OSDE effectively meets the needs of districts and students.”
Before Smith-Gordon was finished she’d again expressed her policy agreements with the very man who made her job impossible, keeping her credibility fully intact as she closed with sound advice for any want-to-be leader.
“… to appreciate and recognize the dedicated individuals who have stayed the course … and continue to navigate the turbulent currents. Walk among them, know what they are doing so you will not have to ask the department heads, hours before a public meeting, for a list of ‘shout outs.’ Next, please recognize the need of our OSDE to have a leader who is present, focusing on the essential task of fortifying our education providers … and honoring the invaluable contributions of these ‘boots on the ground.’”
And finally this, reminding Walters he could have saved himself the embarrassment of the very letter she’d penned.
“I would have preferred to address these concerns privately, but after being told that you said not to contact you again, this is the only format I had available.”
You’ve got to love it.
Sort of, but not really, because not only are the people who smartly voted against Walters not being served by him, but the folks who unfortunately voted for him aren’t being served either.
Representative McBride, are you paying attention?
Perhaps this man should be answering questions in the subcommittee you chair?
District attorney Drummond, is there something in the statutes requiring elected officials to, you know, show up at work?
State auditor Bird, exactly who’s paying to move him from Oklahoma City, if that’s still his home base, to green rooms of ill-repute. Who’s paying for the flights, the food and the cabs?
Labor commissioner Osborn, how about a new op-ed, for the same newspapers as before and Non-Doc, The Frontier and every other news source that will take it, too, explaining that one elected official steadfastly refusing to do his job reflects poorly on all elected officials and should not be tolerated.
Democrats can scream, but you know and they know they hold no sway.
All Ryan Walters does is embarrass our state and make the political process toxic.
Yet again, we need you guys.