Oops

[Missourinet newsroom, Tuesday afternoon, November 28]

Reporters love it when something just falls into their laps. A little while ago we got an email from Christy Bertelson, the former Information Minister for Governor Nixon who has been promoted to the position of Senior Policy Adviser and Chief Speech Writer for the governor. We can’t comment about her ability as a policy adviser because we don’t know what she’s advising the governor to do and whether he adheres to her advice. But, based on some of the speeches we’ve heard the governor read, she’s pretty good as a speech writer. We are not the only ones, for instance, who doubt that the eloquent speech he gave in Joplin last spring that many people felt out-eloquenced President Obama’s remarks was something he wrote on the back of an envelope on the way there.

Ms. Bertelson sent out this message this afternoon:

All — One of the perennial themes in the state of the state address is smarter, more efficient and effective state government. Are there any new efficiency initiatives, or updates, that jump to mind for 2011 that would be important to include in this speech? In last year’s State of the State, we highlighted:
* Highway Patrol/Water Patrol merger – saved $3M
* Selling off fleet, reducing travel by using technology – savings of almost $7M over 2 years
* Getting rid of unused office space, consolidating labs, renegotiating leases – saved $5M
* Cut state energy bills by 2% on top of 5.6% in 2009 – saved $3M
* Reform of state pension system
* Broadband – We tout this every year. It’s probably too soon, but wondering if there might be actual savings to state or local government we can point to.
Thank you.
Christy

We alertly figured out that she had not intended to send this begging for bragging points message to us. Being cunning and sly in addition to being alert we decided not to respond and to wait instead for those she intended to receive the message to hit the “reply all” button. But, alas, there also was an alert person somewhere in the administration who discovered what had happened. So a few minutes later an email arrived from her labeled ERROR.

All – I sent an email in error to the folks on this distribution list, asking for ideas about government efficiency. Please ignore it. I apologize for the error and any inconvenience it may have caused you.

DRAT! There went all the fun not to mention the hoped-for chance that we might write a story about the State of the State speech almost two months before it is given. We didn’t want her to feel too badly about her faux pas, so we replied to the second message:

Oh no, that’s not a problem for us, Christy. No apology is necessary. It wasn’t inconvenient at all. In fact, we’d welcome the opportunity to participate. — bp

…as in waiting to see what bragging points were offered so that we could pass them along to you. If you’ve got some self-backpatting to do there’s no reason to wait until your guy stands in front of a room full of legislators, more than two-thirds of whom hope he loses his re-election bid, and talks about what a great job he and his administration have done. Our offer was gently rejected.

LOL. Good ideas can come from anywhere – even my former colleagues!

We are not sure if she means us when she speaks of “former colleagues.” We suppose she’s referring to the 23 years she spent as a reporter and editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch although we don’t know that we knew her then. Perhaps “colleagues” is a general phrase with a permanence to it. So we replied:

Be watching for them.

And she graciously said she would.

We’re going right to work on that and we’re going to compile several things Governor Nixon can take credit for in his State of the State message. We’re pretty sure they’ll be crowded out by the things that come from within the administration, though.

Keep in touch, Christy. It’s always good to accidentally hear from you.

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