Did you know that the full Kentucky Senate planned to meet on short notice – behind closed doors – Wednesday to discuss the Bluegrass State’s public pension crisis?
Right. No one else knew, either. Not even the Legislative Research Commission knew — and the LRC is the entity that keeps the calendar for public legislative meetings.
Oh, that’s right though. Since the public is NOT INVITED to this meeting, it doesn’t get scheduled.
Still, the senators are planning on holding it — tomorrow at 1 p.m. in Room 327 of the Capitol Annex. Be reminded: taxpayers are paying for this meeting, too.
I am told that thePewCenteron the States has been invited to testify. That alone should make taxpayers wary. In the past Pew failed to adequately address (or, in some cases, never addressed at all) the important issues of the lack of transparency in the pension system, abuse of the legislative pension process or the outrageous benefit creep that now even allows workers at nonpublic entities – including employees at the Commonwealth Credit Union in Frankfort – to mooch at the public pension trough.
Pew’s unwillingness to address these controversial issues in order to continue to curry favor with the political leadership of the state raises serious questions about the group’s credibility and purpose in being inKentucky.
Is Pew here to provide real answers or just to provide a smokescreen to continue maintaining more or less the status quo?
A statement from the Senate President’s Office stated that the reason for holding the meeting out of the public purview was that senators “wished to have an open discussion with legislators asking questions and making suggestions outside the filter of gotcha politics. The purpose is education.”
Beyond the question of how fully and adequately senators will be educated by an organization that prefers to deal in secrecy is another question: Should taxpayers give up transparency just so politicians can feel comfortable horse trading behind closed doors?
Other questions that come to mind:
*Since taxpayers are being forced to pay the expenses and salaries of each senator that will attend this meeting tomorrow, don’t those taxpayers have a right to know what is being discussed related to the public pension system that they also are being forced to fund?
*The Constitution limits days that the Senate and House can meet in session. Meeting in this manner and calling it, as the statement from the Senate President’s office did a meeting together of the “the Majority and Minority Caucuses at the invitation of Sen. Damon Thayer,” R-Georgetown, is slippery indeed. Does this mean, for example, that the Senate must now meet one less day than the House in order to abide by these constitutional requirements?
Why, Sen. Thayer, were we not all invited to hear the “experts” from thePewCenter, “experts” will take no bold stands on the issues that are sure to makeKentucky’s political leaders upset? And why isn’t the public invited to the “open discussion” that follows?
I suppose the answers to these questions are secret, too.