Los Santos, San Andreas – As Sunday’s debate swung further into more specific topics on the Governorship, our candidates were asked to discuss how they approach selecting members for their cabinet if elected. The first candidates given the chance to address this were Vlad Tod and his running mate, current Lt. Governor Karmen McKenzie.
Vlad Tod & Karmen McKenzie
Deferring to his campaign partner, Mr. Tod felt Ms. McKenzie’s expertise would be most appropriate in addressing the question. She stated their first actions would be to interview every current cabinet member, identifying their failures and successes and how to build on that retrospective. Rather than seeking to start with a completely fresh cabinet, they intend to only replace an existing member if the interviews reveal their inability to continue serving in that role. At that point, they would interview within the department led by that cabinet member to find a suitable replacement for their term.
Cole Gordon & Oliver Hall
Cole Gordon concurred with his fellow candidates, stating that they also plan to review the existing cabinet members and keep them in place if they are performing well. Speaking specifically to cabinet position, however, he pointed out that former Blaine County Sheriff Chris Solace has recently moved to head up the State Police, leaving the position filled by Acting Sheriff Mitch Wheatkings in the meantime. Mr. Gordon stated that he would nominate Undersheriff Lana Harte to serve in his cabinet based on her exemplary performance for the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office.
He also spoke to the Surgeon General position, committing to keeping Maggie Martindale in her position while also increasing the resources available to help her do her job effectively. Speaking to the Department of Justice, his campaign plans to return the Attorney General and District Attorney to two separate positions, having been combined previously. He feels that keeping the Attorney General in the cabinet while having the District Attorney be elected or appointed by the Legislature would ensure that these two positions serve different purposes and allow the DA’s office to operate independently of influence from the Executive Branch.
Andre Johnson & Jennifer Sallison
Jennifer Sallison, candidate for Lt. Governor, spoke to this question by concurring with the performance review goals of the other campaigns, but also pointing out that they will strive to ensure the cabinet is staffed by individuals that can contribute to their long-term vision for change within San Andreas. Candidate Johnson will seek to evaluate the different strengths and weakness of their potential cabinet members, staying open bringing in new perspectives to support their term in office. He voiced added support for Undersheriff Lana Harte’s appointment to Sheriff, praising her strong support for the deputies working under her, as well as her other law enforcement colleagues.
Karmen McKenzie opened the rebuttal portion of the question by seeking the other campaigns’ thoughts on Acting Sheriff Wheatkings, given their unanimous endorsement of Undersheriff Harte. Candidate Sallison, having been a member of the force for five months, said she hasn’t seen Mitch Wheatkings around enough to be familiar with his leadership. She pointed to police complaints being voiced and going unaddressed as evidence of the need for more active leadership of the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office.
Cole Gordon concurred with these points, stressing the importance of strong leadership. He doesn’t discount the work the Acting Sheriff has done, but his appointment of Undersheriff Harte would reflect their campaign’s commitment to “active and present leadership”, supporting the officers under her command. Andre Johnson agreed, stating that his month and a half working at the Los Santos Police Department has not yielded the opportunity to meet Sheriff Wheatkings.
Great choices, great decisions, come from great leadership.Cole Gordon
Speaking to both Lana Harte and current Los Santos Police Chief Brandon Davis, Candidate Johnson felt they have both done an excellent job as leaders, demonstrating care for the physical and mental well-being of their fellow officers. With Chris Solace taking up his new position, he feels these two leaders will flourish within their respective departments.
Lt. Governor McKenzie, drawing on her own experience in office, pointed out that sometimes you don’t get exactly who you want in your cabinet, and it may be someone who struggles to communicate effectively or simply an individual you haven’t had the opportunity to work with prior to their appointment. She questioned how the campaigns would plan to work with Sheriff Wheatkings if he were to be officially appointed to the position by the current administration before they begin their terms.
Andre Johnson suggested that communication is key, that he would make himself available to the Sheriff and other cabinet members to create that relationship and foster two-way dialogue with the Executive Branch. Oliver Hall took this further to point out a core part of their own campaign platform: monthly performance reviews of every government department to ensure the agencies and their leaders are as effective as possible.
Candidate McKenzie pointed out that sometimes department heads are too busy to respond, or simply don’t communicate well, and she sought to understand how her fellow candidates would operate when faced with that situation. Cole Gordon, acknowledging that it was tricky to deal with, felt that leading by example with their own activity and presence within the Governor’s office was the best approach. They would seek to understand why department heads can’t be present, whether they are overloaded with work or have other commitments pulling them away from the job. Identifying which cabinet members need additional support and resources to be effective would be a key component for success.
It seems that while each of these campaigns share a lot of the same ideals, their approaches to cabinet appointments will different in interesting ways. While all three campaigns seek to review the performance of current department heads, the Johnson-Sallison campaign seemed most open to the idea of searching broadly for the right candidate and not just sticking with the status quo. The Gordon-Hall campaign would rely on continual performance reviews to ensure the effectiveness of their cabinet, while the Tod-McKenzie campaign is prepared to deal with the harsh realities of running a government and finding ways to effectively reach out to various agencies even if their leadership is uncommunicative. These differing styles of leadership will surely influence voters’ decisions as the election nears its end!
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