Tuesday, December 06, 2005

What's in a title? The downfall of Assembly Chief of Staffs et al

For the most part---NO. Many "Chiefs of Staff" (legislative directors, capitol coordinators, or whatever name du jour they are now given)on both sides of the aisle in the Assembly(however, I would contend it is more prevolent on the GOP side) are a few years out of college and to date, think that their service Assembly Fellow is akin to being on the Harvard Law Review. No dice.

As I said there are a few exceptions that I can think of, but this is troubling to many of my lobbyist friends. For example, I was bullshitting with a friend of mine over drinks last week and she had invited a few "building friends" to join us --- I remembering making a reference to Lou Papan and one of the nimwits remarked, "Oh is he running for Assembly?"

(If you need that reference explained than you are indeed part of the problem)

The title of Chief of Staff largely means little in today's capitol corridor world. But the problem goes deeper because 'way back in the days of yore' when staff actually had been around and had some type of institutional and legislative knowledge the legislation and process reflected it. Now it seems, you graduate (or not) college, become an intern, and a year later you are the top dog in a legislators office. (Now for those conspiracy theorists out there and you know who you are, I am in no way jealous of these compatriots. I am quite secure in my high ranking legislative job in the upper house.)

The problem is apparent to many inside and outside of the capitol walls, and this should not come as a surprise to many. In my opinion, the balance of power between legislative staff and the "third house" that even a semi saavy lobbyist has a huge advantage --- one lobbyist friend of mine that works for a labor organization remarked that (and I am paraphrasing) in some Assembly offices all you have to do is send in some guys with fire hats and pull-ups and suddenly you have allies. (Now trust me, I love a man in uniform as much as the next girl, but this fits as an example).

All kidding aside, I really hope this trend changes on both sides of the aisle and I think I am interested to hear the eloquent opines of all you hackers and flackers. XOX