June 1, 2008

Hail to the Chief

A question about the chief of staff post:

Does the chief's personal relationship to the governor matter all that much in getting things done for the state?

For example, compare Maryland under current governor Martin O'Malley (D) with Florida under Lawton Chiles (D). O'M Chief of Staff Michael Enright has known the governor since high school and served him in much the same capacity when his boss was mayor of Baltimore. Who knows what the future holds, but I'd expect Enright to work right on through the whole of the four-year term.

In contrast, three chiefs of staff worked for Chiles--none of whom went farther back than 1970 in terms of friendship, if you count Jim Krog working as a young man on his first Senate campaign. Certainly, none of them were old childhood buddies. Another detail of note: all three chiefs brought prior gubernatorial service to the table when they joined the Chiles/MacKay administration. Enright of course does not.

I suspect scholars will weigh in on this question at length when Governor O'Malley completes his term...whether the "Enright model" works.

I don't know that much has been said about whether the Chiles model worked, even though it's been a decade. In all my research, I've only found academic scholarship on Chiles' confrontation with the 1991 recession and budget crunch.

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