Monday, June 29, 2009

Will axing Stewart backfire?

In Monday's Richmond Times-Dispatch Jeff Sharpiro writes about an investigation that is now underway in the General Assembly.
Today, at opposite ends of the Capitol, Senate and House committees are opening inquiries of the VITA-Northrop Grumman partnership, which has been criticized by legislators and state employees as pricey, and, in some cases, unnecessary.

Legislative scrutiny of the contract—the biggest privatization deal in ever in Virginia government -- intensified with the firing earlier this month of Lemuel Stewart Jr., as the state’s chief information officer.

As this story revolves around a $2.3 billion contract, it's a situation that's way over my head. I don't know anything about whether Northrop Grumman was living up to its end of the deal with Virginia.

Here's all I do know: If Lem Stewart is wrong, I'll be surprised.

Back in the '80s, I got to know Stewart when we both played on the 3rd St. Diner softball team in the Fan District Softball League. He was a good player and a good teammate. He could run like the wind. And, Lem was/is as sharp as a tack.

While I may agree more often with Gov. Tim Kaine's politics than Lem's, in this case, I suspect Kaine may be the one who's riding for a fall.

That's because the Lem Stewart I know simply would not have taken the position he did unless he knew he could prove he was right. And, if he was right to challenge Northrop Grumman, this brouhaha is not going to help the Democrats in an election year.

Especially THIS election year, coming during a time when voters are more than a little bit pissed off about how their money has been squandered by people they trusted.

*

Update: From Richmond BizSense here's an odd oops story about Northrop Grumman.

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