A Seeing Red Nebraska reader has informed us that today begins the third week that the entire Lincoln office of child welfare workers serving the southeast part of the state has been shut down. This reader reports that 20% of the 100 workers have tested positive for covid. (The Department declined to comment further but said most employees are working from home.)
It’s no surprise covid has spread rapidly there, as Governor Pete Ricketts exempted state offices from the Lincoln mask mandate.
These child welfare workers serve the most vulnerable people in the region, and Ricketts turned their office into a covid petri dish to spread the disease in our most vulnerable communities.
Jason Jackson, the acting director of the Nebraska Department of Personnel, recently reminded child welfare workers that neither they nor their clients are required to wear masks.
Let’s take a moment to consider this Ricketts appointee. Jackson is a Ricketts loyalist recently transplanted from California. He occupies many positions in state government: Ricketts appointed him as Chief Human Resource Officer and as Director of Administrative Services. He continues to hold both of those positions, and for a while was also Acting Director of Personnel. His salary is at least $160,000 a year, the 2018 salary for the Director of Administrative Services.
He is also the current Chairman of the Lancaster County Republican Party. So just to be clear: Jackson is a partisan operative who was appointed by Pete Ricketts to multiple high-paying positions in state government. Does he hold these jobs because he is competitively the best our state can find to do these jobs?
Jackson received a JD in 2014 from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, a private school that recently lost its accreditation with the American Bar Association for, among other things, failing to maintain adequate admissions policies, failing to admit only students reasonably presumed competent to pass the Bar, and failing to maintain a sufficiently rigorous curriculum.
This is just to remind you that when you tune into one of Ricketts’s daily covid pressers, he is flanked by a Director of Public Health who is a lap band surgeon whose household donated $15,000 to Ricketts, and a Director of Administrative Services who is chair of the county Republican Party who has a JD from a school that has lost its accreditation. These are the folks setting our pandemic policy. When fealty and not competence is considered the top job qualification, it’s no wonder we are in this mess.