Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Kim reams Cronin
by Larry Geller
Chief Elections Officer Kevin Cronin was in the hot seat at today’s Ways and Means hearing. I’ll try to edit some video to post if the recording came out ok, but watch for something on KHON tonight. They were the only broadcast TV camera there, and they stayed a while.
Sen. Donna Mercado Kim and later Sen. Gary Hooser were very critical of Cronin’s ability to run his office, do a budget, or prepare for the upcoming election. Let’s see what the commercial media report, and I’ll check out my video.
One new thing I hadn’t thought about until it came up at the hearing—last year’s RFPs (the state bidding process) are being challenged in litigation, but there is a new (2009) RFP out for voting equipment. What happens if one of the suits wins against the state? Will there then be two RFPs? I’m sure it can be taken care of should that happen, but what a mess. Kim asked Cronin about the point system used in the RFP in detail, in order to find out how the contract award went to a high bidder rather than a low bidder.
At the very end of the questioning, Kim asked Cronin why his wife appears in the government directory. Cronin replied that she plans to volunteer in his office. That elicited a stream of questions about whether it is appropriate for a volunteer to be in a position to see names, social security numbers, and so forth. Unless I’m wrong, volunteers are treated the same as employees, except mostly that they don’t get paid. Still, it was a reasonable question considering all the other alleged irregularities in the operation.
With regard to the Babson v. Cronin lawsuit, Cronin said that he had just seen a copy yesterday. He said that new administrative rules are now on their way to the Attorney General’s office.
Remember that the oral ruling was handed down in May, so there should have been plenty of time to take care of this. The rules need to be acceptable to Judge Cardoza, I believe, or no machines for the 2010 elections.
If there was uncertainty about the judge’s order, why not ask one of the attorneys involved, back in May? Where there is a will, there’s a way.
Where there’s no will, maybe there’s no way. I hope the Senate has some action in mind just in case the elections office can’t handle it.