Outgoing Missouri State Representative Neal St. Onge (R-St. Louis County) has been appointed to a staff job on the joint transportation committee, which he once chaired. The position has been vacant for three years and some have criticized the appointment as wasteful and unnecessary.
St. Onge will make around $60,000, more than he was paid as a legislator. As inspector general of transportation, he would help develop and direct state spending on transportation. However, members of the committee already works on those issues, along with the Missouri Department of Transportation. The department also works with private firms to audit contractor spending and the state auditor follows federal funds that state agencies receive each year.
All of which suggests that St. Onge’s position is redundant. Surrounding factors doesn’t make the situation look any better. The term-limited legislator lost a primary bid for higher office and it appears as though then sought this position himself. His appointment was made by outgoing leadership in the House and Senate, principally by Speaker Rod Jetton (R-Marble Hill). Onge’s fellow chairman on the joint committee is Sen. Bill Stouffer (R-Napton), who said that St. Onge acted without his knowledge and that he thinks the staff position is unnecessary.
Adding insult to injury is that St. Onge never seemed to have no problem with big government while acting in his capacity as committee chairman. He backed intrusive seat belt laws and tax hikes to pay for new projects.
Everything about this appointment is suspect, and with any luck incoming Speaker Ron Richard (R-Joplin) will be able to rescind the action.