Many of you, at least the sophisticated, well read ones, have seen the Christmas classic "A Christmas Story" the heartwarming Christmas saga of Ralphie and his trials and tribulations during his pursuit of the unobtainable red rider bb gun with the compass in the stock. For my money the best line in the movie is everybody telling Ralphie that he will shoot his eye out. As JJOKE gets ready to unveil it's new lobby application, that is unless Judge Mackey grants my petition to declare the illegal lobby regulations null and void, I am constantly reminded of the line "Ralphie you'll shoot your eye out". You see, I've been thru a roll out of a new lobby application before, from the inside. I was the executive director of the old lobby commission the last time this happened. Back then Jeanine Clemente was in charge of insuring a smooth roll out. My understanding is that even though Jeanine has retired she was hired back at the state max of $30k per year while collecting her retirement specifically to work on the new lobby application. It took over 2 years (way to max that benefit Jeanine) but Jeanine knows what it takes to do it right. Last time, once the application was ready (we stole it from Connecticut so all we needed to do was modify for New York) we gave it to a couple of large lobbying firms to try it and provide us feedback (Tonio Burgos was one of the firms - Thank you Tonio) We took the feedback from people that would actually be using the system, made some corrections and then implemented the system during a slow filing time with plenty of notice for people to get used to it. This time? No user input, in fact I'm told the actual staff members who will be interacting with the regulated community have not even seen it. And lets go live with it for January 1, 2019 the single busiest filing period possible. How could Jeanine have regressed so far from her excellent work on the original system?
One big difference from the last time. Back then I didn't let the lawyers touch it. We only had one, Ralphie (hence my reminder of a Christmas Story) now there are more Raphies (lawyers) at JJOKE than Bumphus had dogs stealing turkey (watch the movie if that went over your head). No decision at JJOKE gets made without at least three Ralphies trying to shoot their eyes out.
As a result it's December 7 (pearl harbor day) just three weeks till registrations are due and we haven't seen the new lobby application. JJOKE says it will be unveiled in early December. JJOKE staff was originally told December 10. Now they are being told December 17. Not only is JJOKE going to shoot their eye out they are going to lick the flagpole on this one (another movie reference).
Why the delay?
Because the application will not work. Too many Ralphies trying to show how smart they are and not a single one has ever actually filed a registration statement.
A simple example. The new regulations require that any lobbyist that has a contract must file that contract with the registration, you cannot use "an authorization" unless you use the JJOKE authorization form. OK where is that form? According to JJOKE staffers they haven't seen it and the Ralphies at JJOKE say it's coming. A ricchochet off the fence right into Ralphie's glasses. How will the Ralphies handle overlapping agreements? How about in house authorizations for employed lobbyists? How about for Coalitions? Remember Ralphie, Coalitions do not really exist no matter what your regulations say so how can they enter into a contract or an authorization no matter what the form.
That's the easy stuff, I'll save the rest of my snowballs till I actually see the application and can try to use it.
I guess we will just have to wait and see how this movie ends. I'm hoping Judge Mackey brings the judicial cleaver down on Agata's neck. Falalalala la lala lah.