Republicans Didn’t Like Choice for New DirectorFebruary 19th, 2008 by ed friedrich
I got an e-mail from the state Republican Party a few days after David Moseley was announced by Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond and Gov. Chris Gregoire as the new ferries director. They don’t like the choice. I’ll run their press release below, then make a few comments.
Wanted: New state ferry chief with no qualifications, must be Gregoire supporter
Gov. Christine Gregoire yesterday named David Moseley, former city manager of Federal Way, as the new state ferry chief. Moseley is married to Anne Fennesy, a public relations consultant whose firm’s clients include the state Department of Transportation and Sound Transit. In addition, Fennesy is a public supporter and contributor to Gregoire who was involved in a questionable deal last fall when Gregoire paid her PR firm $20,000 in taxpayer money to evaluate the Governor’s communication department.
“Our state ferry system is a complete disaster that is getting worse every day. Serious steps must be taken to address this crisis,” said Luke Esser, Washington State Republican Party chairman. “After what was supposedly a national search, the best person Gov. Gregoire could come up with was someone who has absolutely no maritime experience and whose wife just happens to handle state DOT contracts, is a Gregoire supporter, and has already received $20,000 in payouts? I’m sure the ferry riders today feel much safer knowing that Moseley is now here to save the day. Gregoire’s top priority should be ensuring the safety of ferry riders, not handing out favors to her political backers.”
Back to me:
The story I wrote about the hiring got many comments saying the ferries director should have some maritime background. That’s a valid point. Obviously the state was looking for something else because they had sixty-some candidates and interviewed six of them. I’m sure the bulk of them had some nautical background. At this point it appears that the state wants somebody who can tackle the ferries’ organizational and strategic problems.
As for Moseley’s wife, the AP writer must’ve been tipped off about Moseley’s selection because he asked about the potential conflict of interest. He obviously had been able to do some background checking before the press event, because none of the rest of us had any idea who the selection would be or even who the candidates were.
The governor and Hammond said that steps have been taken to make sure there is no conflict of interest. I couldn’t write fast enough to get them all down, but I think the gist of it was that Fennesey won’t be allowed to do ferry-related stuff. I can get the exact stipulations if you want.
It does sound a little fishy, but I think Moseley must’ve been by far their No. 1 pick if they knew they were going to have to face a conflict-of-interest question. If there was somebody equally as good, why would they subject themselves to sure criticism? They can’t be that dumb, can they? Don’t answer that.
I’m going to have some faith and give them the benefit of the doubt that they know what they’re doing. I have to give the guy a chance, but there’s no question that he’s carrying some extra baggage.