Watertown Public Opinion: Stop the lobbyists!`

This past weekend, the Watertown Public Opinion publisher, Mark Roby, penned a scathing editorial absolutely ripping apart tech school lobbyist (and former Republican Legislator) Mitch Richter for his action on the tech school bill.

It wasn't one of those articles leaving you to ask him not to hold back. Because nothing was:
For more than four years now our Watertown School Board and LATI administration have approved spending about $25,000 per year , when matched by the other tech schools, totaled more than $100,000 per year for a lobbyist charged with finding a solution to chronic funding problems. The lobbyist Mitch Richter, is a former Sioux Falls legislator.

What have we gotten for this sizable investment?

In my view, nothing. Maybe worse.


The Watertown School board should immediately end payments for lobbying for a change in control. We ought to learn our lesson now, and stop paying for this "expert" advice which led us down the path to a solution nobody wants.
Read the entire article here at the Watertown Public Opinion (nominal fee for the article required).

It's an extensive article (this is barely a blurb) but a barn burner.


Deputy Dawg said…
Not surprising since the four tech schools can agree on nothing. That has always been the case going back to the 1960s.

However, that does not excuse the state and the idiot legislators from their role in underfunding the tech schools. The dysfunction between the schools is very understandable when you know the history and the obstacles thrown up by the jerks in Pierre since before the tech schools were started.

There are no friends for tech schools in Pierre. Rounds and the rest will continue their hoax of claiming they believe that tech schools are important to economic development, and that they pave the way for more jobs and better paying careers. And in truth, there is a quantifiable relationship between the tech schools and good paying jobs in the home communities ... especially Watertown.

But the truth is Pierre has always resisted the development of a competent, free-standing tech school program in South Dakota. The universities run the roost, and even they are on shaky ground with many of the dumb rednecks in the legislature. Rounds will stand back and let ol' Double-Dipper Tad Parry, Harvey Jewitt and the Board of Regents cannibalize the program, because Rounds has never had a spine.

I understand Watertown's disappointment with Richter as well as the community's well-founded skepticism with the politicians in Pierre. But if they want to survive, they've got to make peace and form alliances to push back. Ripping into Richter won't get that job done.
Anonymous said…
if Tad Parry is involved, then everything will be screwed up royally
Anonymous said…
....and the #1 Reason It Is Good To Be Mitch Ricter.....

You get paid $100K per year, plus expenses, to lobby to create a new $200K job for yourself!


Perhaps not being qualified for the Exec Dir job at SETI will turn out to be a good thing for him after all.
Anonymous said…
The PO needs to check its facts, Mitch Richter has not been paid $25,000 by LATI--EVER. His expenses are not paid by anyone but himself. He does not have a contract for 100K. He has been very successful at getting things done for the Technical Institutes. Lets remember he got SB 95 passed both houses and the Governor, Perry, and Jewitt had to work till the last hour of veto day to find enough votes to sustain the veto. I wouldn't call that unsuccessful!
Anonymous said…
Hi Mitch

Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back just yet over SB95.
Anonymous said…
Mitch Richter didnt do anything with respect the tech schools bill. The people that led that charge were the Sioux Falls school district and Dave Knudson.

Mitch was a step child in the process, and definately didn't deserve the 100 k he was paid.

This is a real sad situation, with Richter. If they get an executive director, I'll wager is Dr. Gross - you know, someone who knows SOMETHING about Tech School Education.

You have to be an educator and a good lobbyist. Not a lobbyist who gives a good hand job.
Anonymous said…
Richter WAS paid $100k by the tech schools.
Anonymous said…
No, Mitch wasn't paid by the tech schools. He technically was paid by the four school districts that govern the tech schools. $25k each.

I have no doubt that the tech school governance bill would have passed if someone other than Mitch was promoting it.
Anonymous said…
I think Mitch probably hurt the tech schools, because of the widespread belief that he was trying to lobby his way into a job. I wonder - if the Regents offered Mitch a $101k job tomorrow, would he change sides? I know what I think
Anonymous said…
Why would the tech schools be stifled by being under the Regents? I don't understand that. The universities haven't been stifled. Why would the Regents act against their own institutions?

The tech school people say their goal is to advance technical education. I think that is exactly what the Regents would do.
been there said…
The school districts were crazy to pay any lobbyist that much. NO lobbyist is worth near that much, it's a part-time job for 2 months. I thought all the schools were cash poor? They really got took if they paid Richter that much. He can't be well-liked in Pierre, he's very liberal and very arrogant.

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