Sherman Collects His Thirty Pieces Of Silver
Welcome to "The Year Of Returned Favors And Rewarded Loyalty".
Throughout his tenure, Jim Doyle has never been shy about using the appointment process to reward cronies and contributors with government jobs. As lame duck Doyle quacks into the final year of his term - knowing that he's never going to run for elective office again - look for the pace of political thank you's to pick up.
Take, for instance, this week's appointment of State RepresentativeGary Sherman to a position on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals effective in January of 2010. Ironically, this vacancy is being created as a result of the pending resignation of another one of Doyle's political cronies.
Arguably, Sherman's greatest claim to fame came back in 2005 when he voted to sustain Doyle's veto of a concealed carry bill which had passed the State Legislature by substantial majorities. Sherman had not only originally voted for the bill but had actually co-sponsored it! In explaining his flip-flop at the time, Sherman said he changed his vote to protect his governor and preserve the power of the Assembly Democrats.
In other words Sherman, who initially believed concealed carry was a good idea, sold out his principles and his constituents in order to protect Doyle! Wow!
Never let it be said that Doyle doesn't value loyalty - even if it comes at the expense of integrity.
Sherman, who has been a lawyer since 1974, is certainly not completely unqualified (like some others that Doyle has rewarded with six figure government jobs recently). At the same time, in selecting Sherman for an appellate court position, Doyle bypassed sitting Circuit Court judges in favor of someone with little if any judicial experience.
What is especially aggravating about this appointment though is that Sherman isn't even from the judicial District where the Court of Appeals position is located. In the Assembly, Sherman represents an area in the extreme northwest corner of the State (Port Wing). His home base is in Wisconsin's Appellate Court DIstrict III. The vacancy that he will be filling is in District IV based out of Madison!
I imagine that there are some pretty honked-off aspiring office seekers out in central and southwestern Wisconsin. I mean, you would have thought that Doyle would have been able to find some liberal lawyer who at least lived full-time in the District to reward with a $132,000 a year job?
The only good thing about this appointment is that Sherman will have to stand for election in the reasonably near future. Historically, some of Doyle's most blatant political appointees haven't fared too well when they've ultimately faced the electorate. As such, it will be interesting to see whether - with Doyle gone - Sherman draws an opponent and, if so, how the voters respond to a carpetbagger who put political party before conscience.
For the moment though, Sherman has collected his thirty pieces of silver. I hope he enjoys them.