The saga of Patricia O’Donnell, who just announced her resignation from the Vernon Selectboard, unfolded a little off my radar.
I knew that O’Donnell, who chaired the Selectboard, was the recent subject of controversy after she attempted to intervene with the Sheriff’s department on behalf of a friend over a drunk driving stop.
I am no stranger to City officials who are inclined to abuse their authority, but this didn’t seem to rise to the level of particular interest for me.
It also didn’t surprise me that, as a member of the power elite in Vernon, she had been one of the biggest advocates to keep Vermont Yankee chugging away.
No juicy bits here, thought I.
Then I learned that, after retiring from office as a state legislator for Vernon, O’Donnell had done a turn as a lobbyist in the statehouse for Entergy; ‘just the kind of “swinging-door” rep that we object to in D.C.
And why not? A quick check of Sourcewatch reveals that O’Donnell also happens to have been the 2009 Vermont Chairwoman of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, described thusly by Sourcewatch:
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills.
As a seasoned ALEC operative, O’Donnell must have grown so familiar with influence peddling that she quite forgot herself when her friend got pulled over for drunk driving:
At Monday night’s meeting, several Vernon residents questioned O’Donnell’s decision to bill the town for $5,000 to pay her legal fees associated with allegations of obstruction of justice into the Windham County Sheriff’s Department investigation of O’Donnell’s friend.
Her stated reason for resigning from the Selectboard? Why the departure of Vermont Yankee, of course!
O’Donnell apparently told the Rutland Herald that it had
everything to do with the tensions and economic fallout from the closing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, which closed last year, putting hundreds of people out of work.
O’Donnell said she was “fed up and tired” of the criticism leveled against her and other town officials from townspeople and other town employees whose jobs had been reduced as a result of the townwide belt-tightening.
Yes; don’t you just hate it when your neighbors get all up in your face over such petty infractions?