Pete Ricketts has visibly struggled in his job as governor since he was inaugurated in 2015. He is totally out of his depth due to a lack of experience and he has repeatedly tried to implement his intellectually and morally bankrupt conservative philosophy. Ricketts’ tenure as governor has revealed that a key feature of conservatism is how almost all of its bedrock policies melt under the light of personal experience. It’s interesting to note how rarely strict conservative principles survive direct personal experience with a social problem.
Recent revelations about Ricketts’ reign of error indicate that the billionaire governor continues to fail. A report from the State Auditor’s Office recently indicated that State of Nebraska’s end-of-the-year financial report contained more than $21 billion in errors. Yes, that’s billion with a “B.” Consequently, the Auditor’s Office had to put a disclaimer on the report and said that auditors were unable to verify the accuracy of the report.
This fiasco was shortly followed by revelations that the State of Nebraska had accepted a ridiculously low bid from St. Francis Ministries in 2019 to handle child welfare services in the Omaha metro area. St. Francis’ bid was suspicious at the time since it was 40% lower than any bid.
As it turned out that absurd bid was too good to be true. After St. Francis totally botched its child welfare cases, the State had to provide St. Francis with a $147 million bailout. This undeserved bailout wiped out the illusory cost savings and made the St. Francis contract more expensive than the ones proposed by the other bidders in 2019.
The Omaha World Herald — which had endorsed Ricketts in both 2014 and 2018 — blasted Ricketts’ failures in a recent blistering opinion piece: “No question, managing state government is a challenging endeavor, whether in a small state or a big one. But that in no way exempts an administration and its departments from their duty to exercise professional competence and judgment. Early in Gov. Pete Ricketts’ tenure, his administration implemented various efficiency initiatives. That was commendable. But the large-scale accounting problems and the St. Francis situation have tarnished the administration’s reputation greatly on the management front.”
Ricketts’ failures on the financial front are every bit as disturbing as his handling of the pandemic. The former T.D. Ameritrade executive has blown the rollout of the vaccine for the corona virus. For whatever reason, Ricketts rejected an offer from FEMA to help distribute the vaccines.
As a result, Nebraska is a mediocre number thirty three among the states and D.C. by administering 14,770 shots per 100,000 people. Lincoln’s public health expert Dr. Bob Rauner said “We need to speed our rollout up.” Most Nebraskans below the age of 70 have heard nothing and have no idea when they will be vaccinated.
When Ricketts ran for Governor in 2014, he touted his business experience and claimed that experience qualified him for the office. It is by now patently obvious that Ricketts is not running the state government like a business. In a business, Ricketts would resign for incompetence prior to the board of directors firing him for his terrible decision making.
I would advise everybody to stay engaged. Call your state senator and let him/her know what you think about Ricketts’ failed agenda. Please get involved in the city elections in Omaha and Lincoln this year. Let’s lay the groundwork for a win in 2022. Republicans never take a day off. Now let’s leave it all out on the field!