Studying a problem until everyone forgets about it

By The West Virginia Record | Nov 27, 2009

I just dropped in
To see what condition
My commission was in.

Apologies to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, but there's something positively psychedelic about certain commissions.

Each one seems like a flashback of the last. It's crazy, man!

Here's how some commissions work: There's a problem that everyone recognizes, and solutions that are obvious but politically unacceptable. So instead of acknowledging the problem and implementing the solutions, the cagey politician calls for a commission to study the problem and recommend palatable solutions that may or may not help.

The commission releases its findings and everyone applauds the valiant effort, pretends that the problem has been adequately addressed, and then forgets about the whole thing. A few years later, it becomes impossible to ignore the continuing existence of the problem and a new commission is formed.

Gov. Joe Manchin's Independent Commission on Judicial Reform fits the model. It was formed to address the manifest problems in our state's civil justice system and make recommendations that apparently wouldn't offend anyone.

The commission completed its work and has been dutifully lauded these past weeks.

Its recommendations include a pilot program for taxpayer funding of judicial campaigns, formalizing the appointment process for interim judges, creating an intermediate appellate court like most other states, and initiation of another study, this for a proposed "business court."

Note: Not a single mention of frivolous lawsuits, ethically challenged attorneys, or agenda-driven judges. The governor did note that West Virginia's judges are as good or better than any other state. Based on what facts, we wonder.

Will the recommendations of the commission be implemented? Maybe. Will they solve our problems? No.

One thing is certain -- a new commission will be formed sometime in the future to revisit the problem and offer recommendations strikingly bland and lifeless.

When that happens, we'll have to drop back in, to see what condition that commission is in.

It'll be like dejà vu all over again, man. Crazy!

More News

The Record Network