Friday, November 11, 2011


Looking for a model of integrity? Consider E.J. McMahon.

He’s a former reporter and government official who now serves as the lead fiscal analyst at the Manhattan Institute. Reporters frequently consult E.J. when they are trying to make sense of the complicated details of state budgeting.

He has a way of making the complex seem pretty simple, like he did yesterday. EJ called out the Cuomo administration for its failure to adhere to one of the disclosure requirements of the state budget process.

The administration has refused to provide a mid-year budget report, citing turmoil in the world economy.

EJ stood up to say that turmoil in the world economy was nothing new and that the governor was using it as an excuse not to make required disclosures.

What will probably happen next is that the administration will take shots at EJ. Maybe Blasto will call him a partisan.

While EJ has an ideological mooring, he’s not a partisan. He is neither cheerleader nor cynic. When Cuomo does something good in his view, he praises him. When he does something bad, he isn’t afraid to offer constructive criticism.

(I like to think that I follow a similar code. I actually want to see the administration succeed, but it doesn’t mean I won’t disagree at times.)

EJ’s example also underscores the degree to which the good government groups have totally abandoned their charge. In this regard, they are supposed to hold the administration to account to the highest standards of openness and accountability. Instead, led by Russ Haven, Susan Lerner and Dick Dadey, they now offer excuses for the secrecy of this administration.   

Here’s to EJ. There should be more like him.

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