The Buck Doesn’t Stop Here!

I can’t believe when I was pounding away on Christine Gregoire and her Department of Corrections for failing to adequately protect the public from convicted felons (and more here), that I forgot all about the case of Phillip Paul, the insane killer who walked away from a “field trip” to a county fair while in the custody of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).

Do I look like Harry Truman? Do you see a sign on my desk that says, "the buck stops here?" I didn't think so; in fact, I don't even have a desk!

We’re reminded today, as the State announces tighter rules to govern outings for mental patients, that the previous rules “drew sharp criticism from Gov. Chris Gregoire.” In response, Hal Wilson, CEO for Eastern State Hospital, where Paul was being held, resigned one month prior to his planned retirement date. He is now, I’m sure, living comfortably on his generous public pension. Ooh, ouch! I wonder, can I get the governor to sharply criticize me?

I’m not so naive to think that the Governor could manage every State agency down to the last detail. That would be a nightmare of micro-management, to be avoided lest the State come to a grinding halt. But that doesn’t mean that when something goes wrong, the Governor isn’t the one who’s ultimately in charge. Gregoire likes to point fingers but given the State’s record on public safety under her tenure, she should be pointing at herself.

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