The Clark County commissioners' hiring of Sen. Don Benton as the county's environmental services director evokes charges of hypocrisy, abuse and cronyism. None are worthy of belief.
Since the Commission's majority — Tom Mielke and David Madore — are both forthright conservatives, their effort to minimize economic harm from enforcement of environmental regulations by hiring the similarly inclined state Sen. Don Benton is not remotely hypocritical.
Since the county commissioners' majority believes the regular hiring process would almost certainly select an environmental bureaucrat obstructive of this aim (See Commissioner Madore's March 17 letter to Clark County Administrator Bill Barron), they decided to exercise the power granted to them to select whom they liked to head this department. There is nothing abusive about that.
If Benton makes enforcement of environmental regulations less burdensome in Clark County, he will have clearly accomplished the Clark County Commission majority's policy goal.
That's not cronyism, just effective public administration: Hiring subordinates who will do — rather then obstruct — what you were elected to accomplish.
Maligning and ideologically motivated prognostications about Benton's hire are insubstantial, and should be ignored.