Monday, February 26, 2007

Jeb Ruled By Fear

Ruth Sykes was briefly Jeb Bush's efficiency expert. She quit when it became apparent that Bush would not heed her warnings about privatization.

Bush made Sykes his $95,000-a-year director of efficiency and enterprise development about two weeks after the Department of Management Services put out a "request for information" on privatizing personnel services. And get this: Sykes thought People First was headed for trouble!

The 20-year Air Force veteran, who retired in Niceville, also had this odd notion about trusting the troops.

"As I told the governor, people have the answers, your employees have the answers," she told me at the time. "They know where the waste is; they know where the problems are. They will help you if you let them, if they have the motivation to help."

What state employees had under Bush was fear. "You feel like you can't voice your opinion and be critical," Sykes said back then. "I felt like I was exposing things - 'This is a different way, consider this' - and this is what I was brought here to do."

Bush's inspector general Bill Monroe has been unable to prove outsourcing saved the taxpayers money.



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