What is Part-Time Perry Hiding? Light Schedule, Lack of Transparency is Troublesome

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The Texas Tribune's Elise Hu did some digging and came up with a great investigative piece comparing Rick Perry's scheduling practices with those of the governors of California, Florida, and Texas. The result? Not only has part-time Perry only worked 7-hours a week in 2010 (and only 11-hours a week in 2009), his light schedule creates a serious lack of transparency which is troublesome to the public.

The entire Tribune story — “Perry's Spare Schedule Feeds Transparency Concerns” — demands a full read. Here are some highlights:

  • Perry's very light schedule – five days off in May alone:

    A closer look at the four governors' schedules in the month of May (see our interactive presentation) suggests differences in how they approach their jobs. Perry appears to be the only one of the four who took three-day weekends — his schedule shows five of 21 weekdays with no “state scheduled events” — whereas Crist, Schwarzenegger and Paterson took no weekdays off other than Memorial Day.

  • Perry apparently skipped out on calls regarding the BP oil spill:

    In at least one instance, a comparison of the calendars reveals an apparent inconsistency between the record-keeping of the gubernatorial peers. Crist’s schedule shows five conference calls during the month of May with Perry and other Gulf Coast governors related to the BP oil spill. Perry’s schedule makes no mention of the calls. On one of the days on which Crist’s log shows a phone call with Perry, Perry’s schedule reads “no state scheduled events.”

    “Many times the governor was on [the call], [and]many times his staff was on,” says Katherine Cesinger, a Perry spokeswoman. “If the governor didn’t call in, it’s not necessarily on his schedule.”

  • A Troublesome lack of transparency

    Representatives for Perry’s fellow Republican governors in California and Florida say their bosses made overt pushes early in their terms for their schedules to be more transparent. In California, Schwarzenegger was the first governor in his state’s history to make his schedule publicly available. “Reporters are allowed to view it and look through it, stay as long as they want. The public schedule will say, 'Meeting with Senator whomever' — no redactions or anything,” says Aaron McLear, Schwarzenegger’s spokesman. In Florida, Crist’s first executive order upon taking office in January 2007 established a special Office of Open Government. “We strive daily to ensure all possible records are accessible by the Floridians we serve,” says Sterling Ivey, a Crist aide.

Again, I'd highly recommend you read the full story: “Perry's Spare Schedule Feeds Transparency Concerns.”

The fundamental question, then, is what is Rick Perry hiding? If he's really doing this work, and it's not on his schedule, who is he meeting with? When and where is he having these meetings? What are the meetings about? There is no accountability for an elected official who refuses to make their schedules public, complete, and easily accessible to the public.

Rick Perry is a career politician who will say and do anything to get elected. He's hiding from the public — both in his official work as governor, and in his campaign. He really is a coward.

About Author

Phillip Martin

Currently the Research and Policy Director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute, Phillip Martin writes occasional long-form pieces for BOR that promote focused analysis and insight into Texas politics. Born and raised in Austin, Phillip started working in politics in 2003 and started writing on BOR in the summer of 2005. Phillip has worked for the Texas Democratic Trust, the Texas Legislative Study Group, and now the Progress Texas family. He is a lifelong Houston Astros fan, a loyal Longhorn, and loves swimming at Barton Springs Pool.

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