It’s 2014. Ricky Diaz leaving the Department of Health and Human Services is the least surprising story of the day. It was the obvious end to his tenure.
Diaz is a campaign hack. He’s 24 years old. He was always going back to campaigns when the cycle heated up again.
Diaz was just wintering here in North Carolina on the government dime. Sure, it was a bit of a rough ride, but $85,000 can ease the pain. Besides, the job security was literally unbelievable. I mean, how many places does the chief executive officer make it clear to the public (in this case the shareholders) that you can do no wrong?
The whole episode shows how little Aldona Wos and Pat McCrory understand their environment. If they really thought that Ricky Diaz was at DHHS for the long haul, they were, uh, naive. And if Diaz really was really the most qualified person to take over the job, that shows a serious weakness in the Republican talent pool.
Instead of realizing they were duped and made fools by Ricky Diaz, they are praising him for his hard work and, as Wos says, his “lasting impression on the Department.” Please. I would say his tenure defined the perception of the department–a place where political cronies are paid inflated salaries until needed on the campaign trail again.
Over the next few months, we’ll see a quiet exodus of McCrory’s patronage hires back into the campaign battlefield. Diaz is just the most high-profile. Both parties warehouse campaign workers. But usually they are placed in relatively low profile positions so their exits aren’t noticed. Diaz was originally hired into one of those spots. McCrory and Wos, though, gave him a huge raise and moved him into a position usually reserved for a career public employee.
And maybe there’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats respect the knowledge, experience and expertise of career bureaucrats because they want government to work. Republicans don’t consider government positions real jobs. In their minds, anybody can do these jobs. And that’s who they appoint. Just anybody.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >