The Commonwealth Iconoclast

A site dedicated to covering issues relevant to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and nation at large, plus other interesting things too, as I see fit...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Chesterfield’s County Administrator in Need of Frequent Flyer Miles!


Wow, it was reported this morning that Chesterfield County’s long-time County Administrator, Lane Ramsey, paid $18,000 (in County funds) for a charter flight out of Chesterfield to pick him up and rush him back home from vacation during the holidays due to the arrest of County Supervisor Edward Barber on sex related charges.

I guess the question most folks are asking is why was it so important for Ramsey to rush back home so quick? After all, it was Christmas time and the County’s Board didn’t have a meeting until sometime in January. Realistically what could Mr. Ramsey have done at that point? Console Supervisor Barber? Also, it was pointed out today by Julian Walker of the Richmond Times Dispatch that a next day flight from Wichita would have been less expensive, and more importantly for Ramsey, less controversial.

A check of a travel-reservation Web site last night listed one-way next-day flights from Wichita to Richmond in a price range of $249 to $816 plus taxes and fees. A Continental Airlines flight leaving Wichita at 11:10 a.m. today would get a passenger to Richmond by 5:15 p.m. The price, including taxes and fees, would be $301 -- about one-60th of what Chesterfield taxpayers paid to get Ramsey back to the county.


By all accounts Ramsey Lane is a competent and professional public servant. If I had to guess this decision by Mr. Lane was likely an (expensive) error in judgment – which he seems to indicate as well. Maybe Mr. Lane could make this situation right by offering to pay the difference between what a next day flight would have cost, versus the 18K it cost to charter a plain out of Chesterfield to pick him up? (I would guess that he could afford it too) Regardless, the damage has been done; and it will be interesting to see what the public’s reaction will be once this story has more time to settle in.

I think the lesson here - as I’ve often stated - is that sometimes even good people can make poor decisions.

Note: The flight that Mr. Ramsey took was likely not as luxurious as the Concord!

9 Comments:

  • At 2/21/2006 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've got an idea, how about the citizens of Prince Edward spend $18,000 to send our CA to Kansas, but of course without a return flight.

     
  • At 2/22/2006 7:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The whole story does seem like a serious lapse of judgement on someone's part. But there are some curious issues which raise questions. Why Supervisor R. M. "Dickie" King, Jr. need to fly to Kansas to get briefed by Ramsey, who was on vacation, presumably out of the loop on the Barber issue. Haven't these people ever heard of telephones and emails. Also, since the Barber issue had nothing to do with County government, why of all the highly responsible officials they have, couldn't they have someone else preside at the news conference on December 30th to explain how the Barber charges may impact County operations. Don't they have lawyers?

     
  • At 2/22/2006 8:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    From Today's RTD "He could have flown around the world 6 times for that amount."

    What Ramsey did is affectionately know as a "career ender" in world of public employment.

     
  • At 2/22/2006 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    For goodness sakes, what caused the apparent "panic" with the Chesterfield officials. Barber charges, while no doubt serious for Barber, should be no reason to cause Chesterfield County government to go into a "tailspin"...sorry about that. Supervisor Barber's personal problems should not be a public crisis and certainly do not justify the $18,000 in travel expenses.

     
  • At 2/22/2006 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just a rough estimate, but it looks like the round-trip distance was about 2,550 miles. At $18,170.12, that would mean that the Chesterfield County taxpayers paid $7.13 a mile. The convenience of saving a few hours, is pretty expensive.

     
  • At 2/22/2006 12:57 PM, Blogger Will Vaught said…

    As always, Conway Haskins (www.southofthejames.blogspot.com) has a great piece discussing this issue as well. Conway is one of my favorite fellow bloggers...

    This starting to become a major mess, the RTD ran another story today about this "issue".

     
  • At 2/23/2006 7:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The plot thickens. Passing around the hat to pay back the $18,000 was a stroke of damage control brilliance. Except for one thing- the cat is out of the bag. New news this morning shows another $4,800 charter bill in November to fly these high-flyers up and back to Hotsprings on the taxpayers' nickle. What was the urgency there that required this extraordinary expense? There needs to be a comprehensive investigation.

     
  • At 2/23/2006 7:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It is probably around a 2 hour drive from Hotsprings to Chesterfield. Certainly you can fly it is less than an hour. So these "important" public officials have saved a tiny bit of time at great expense to us taxpayers. I think these people are just intoxicated with the smell of jet fuel.

     
  • At 2/23/2006 8:28 AM, Blogger Will Vaught said…

    Not to mention a nice drive, wow, flying from Hotsprings to Chesterfield..I hope Mr. Ramsey has practiced his golf game, because it looks as if he'll have mroe free time on his hands soon

     

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