There’s no need to fear. WonderBoy is here!

Crossposted on, where you can also find An Unfortunate Comfluence of Tweets, and whatever happened to Jim Douglas’ autobiography?

Semi-random thoughts upon the hiring of former Douglas Administration stalwart Neale Lunderville, who served as Governor Shumlin’s Irene Recovery Czar, as the interim GM of the Burlington Electric Department

– When did Lunderville become Mr. Fix-It for Democratic administrations? Is there not a single Democrat with administrative chops who could be called upon to fill a leadership void in the public sector?

– Between his two government gigs, Lunderville was co-founder of NG Advantage, a firm that deals in compressed natural gas. He was there for less than two years. When and why did he leave?

– Since the Douglas Administration came to its merciful end, Lunderville has held (if I’m counting correctly) at least four jobs. For that matter, during the Douglas Years he moved around state government quite a bit. Coincidence, or is there a reason he keeps moving around? (Yes, I know the Irene gig was a short-termer from the gitgo. But even so, there seems to be a pattern here.)

– Lunderville was one of the more notable head-crackers in the Douglas Administration. And he comes to BED from a gig in the fossil fuel business. How committed is he to the ideals of a publicly-owned utility? Especially one with a strong commitment to renewable energy?

– The above question is even more crucial when, according to the Burlington Free Press, “Lunderville will conduct a strategic review of BED operations.” Will his ideological bent inform his strategic review, and shape his conclusions? Hard to see how it wouldn’t.

– He is said to be BED’s interim head, with a six-to-nine-month appointment. At the same time, though, Mayor Weinberger “temporarily suspended” the search for a permanent GM. Seems an odd decision; it often takes more than nine months to fill a top administrative position. Why wait? It seems likely that either Lunderville will stay longer than expected, or BED will soon be searching for another interim GM. Are the skids being greased for Lunderville’s permanent appointment?

Just askin’. Maybe some enterprising member of our paid political media could seek answers to some of these fairly obvious questions.

One further observation. The thing I don’t like about Shumlin and Weinberger hiring a Republican for a tough management task is the same reason I don’t like it when a Democratic President hires a Republican for Defense Secretary, or a military man for a non-military administrative post. It feeds into the stereotype that liberals can’t be effective, tough-minded leaders, and can’t be trusted with critical security and military issues.

Which is nonsense on both sides: there’s no guarantee a Republican will be a good manager, there’s no guarantee a general without the protections of rank and uniform will be an effective leader, and there’s no reason to think a Democrat, or even a Progressive, couldn’t handle a critical managerial challenge or keep our country safe. When Democratic officeholders hire somone like Lunderville, leaving aside the question of his qualifications, it feeds into those stereotypes. And that, in itself, is not a good thing.

9 thoughts on “There’s no need to fear. WonderBoy is here!

  1. is simply an embarrassment …..

    The guts of the city council are about to be tested as they must approve the appointment.    

    Oddly enough I suspect the wonder boy will be well received.

    see comment one above.

  2. Burlington political gymnastics but when I read this I just assumed Mayor Miro was playing his triangulator.It is a centrist instrument used to triangulate three party situations.So Lunderville the Mr. Fix-it of the good gray Douglas business wing of the VT Republican party gets another job.

  3. Why should Democratic office holders be appointing ambitious Republicans to resume-building jobs?

    I don’t see a political calculation here: a Democratic mayor in Burlington should be more interested in burnishing his cred with the left wing of the Democratic Party and Progs than looking for support from the R’s.

    Could it be as simple as this? With a Democratic administration in Montpelier, including all the statewide offices but Lite Gov, the best potential Democratic candidates already have jobs; why would you leave a good state job for a temporary BED position? On the other hand, Barb Grimes was not only a state rep from Burlington, she went to BED from her job as commissioner of Housing and Community Affairs (since renamed to downplay housing).

    Let’s hope we see some solid, competent Democrats (and I can think of a few) step forward when and if the permanent job opens up.

  4. Barbara Grimes’ retirement was announced a very long time ago. They’ve had a ton of time to hire someone.  If I lived in Burlington, I would be pretty damn suspicious, even wondering what the Mayo’s intentions are regarding future ownership of the utility.

  5. to their base. It is extremely depressing and tiresome to see the Dems & Progs under the spell of and serving the interests of the paymasters on the right while doing the bidding of the right which they appear to be in thrall to, to be a mere placeholder that does nothing for the base to simply hold the reins in power — what was a disease has become an epidemic in VT.

    There are certain advantages afforded to the ruling regime. I’m all for hiring the best person if no one in the party is as qualified however I do not believe there are no better qualified Dems or Progs so this is not the case here.

    These machinations & maneuverings smell, and Vermont is fast becoming the sleazy backwater of New England with  secretly sealed deals one would expect to see in the infamous backroom good-old-boy dealings in southern states like Alabama & the like complete with the same corrupt LE. Our only hope is Foia records, where are they.      

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