repostings 4 u
Governor Rowland Should Resign
the New York Times
Published: January 14, 2004
John Rowland appears determined to gamble that he can survive as governor of Connecticut even if state lawmakers move to impeach him, a process that could begin soon with the selection of an investigative committee. Governor Rowland maintains, over and over, that he broke no laws when he took gifts from people on state payrolls — employees and contractors — and lied to cover up his actions. But it is already clear that the governor has failed the state and is no longer capable of leading. It is time for Mr. Rowland to stop trying to save himself at public expense and step down.
The governor's pattern has been to admit to those misdeeds about to come to light anyway, and then attribute everything to judgment lapses. The conceit that all his ethical violations were simple errors might be easier to accept if everything sour in the Rowland administration had not arisen from the same tangle of money, influence and favoritism.
The governor allowed others — including figures central to an ongoing federal probe — to pay to renovate his vacation cottage. His former state treasurer, Paul Silvester, pleaded guilty to money laundering charges in 1999. Last year, Lawrence Alibozek, who was Mr. Rowland's deputy chief of staff, admitted taking bribes to steer state contracts. A former co-chief of staff, Peter Ellef, is said to be under investigation, linked to an Enron deal that cost the state $200 million. Mr. Alibozek and Mr. Ellef helped outfit the vacation home.
Connecticut voters re-elected Mr. Rowland in 2002, believing that he had known nothing about his staff's corruption. Now most of those polled want him to resign. More important than the polls, however, is the fact that he can no longer run the state. The distractions of his legal problems, including the current federal probe into his finances and the need to fight an impeachment effort, will be crippling. He has lost the support of his own party — in the State Senate, where an impeachment trial would take place, 11 of the 15 Republicans have joined Representatives Christopher Shays and Rob Simmons to urge the governor to quit. This tainted administration no longer works, and it has no chance of redemption. Mr. Rowland should step aside now, while the choice is his.