Saturday, March 24, 2018
The Senate’s worst boss?
The following article appeared in Powerline on March 22nd
By Scott Johnson
Amy Klobuchar plays Minnesota Nice in public with her constituents and in the Senate with her Republican colleagues. Indeed, some of her Republican colleagues in the Senate have actually fallen for her act. Working for her, however, employees see another side of the senator’s face. With employees she’s not putting on an act. The real Amy Klobuchar emerges. It’s an open secret that she is hell to work for. As a boss, she’s not Minnesota Nice.
The secret is getting out. LegiStorm — the online portal that tracks Capitol Hill’s workforce in detail — has put hard data to the debate over the worst bosses in Congress. That’s how Politico’s Nolan McCaskill puts it in his piece on LegiStorm’s ranking of congressional representatives “calculated by using annual salary-weighted turnover.” LegiStorm’s rankings are posted under the heading “Worst bosses?”
LegiStorm provides two lists, one for 2017 (calendar year for the House, fiscal year for the Senate) and one covering the extended period 2001-2017 (calendar years for the House, fiscal years for the Senate). LegiStorm understates the reservation with which the single-year data needs to be viewed: “It’s possible, particularly in short periods of time like a single year, that members were hit by bad staffing luck or needed a change in strategic focus caused by outside events.” There are many more reasons than these to explain high turnover in a given year. LegiStorm itself recognizes that “for longer periods of time, turnover becomes a more reliable indicator of which offices staff might want to avoid if they can.” In my opinion, the 2017 data need to be discarded and indeed Politico rightly disregards them in its story.
Looking at the House data for the extended period, Sheila Jackson Lee comes in first for worst. As calculated for the 2001-2016 period, she scored an impressive 0.62 on the LegiStorm turnover index. This all by itself tends to validate the methodology in my eyes. She edged out Raul Ruiz, her closest competitor, by .02
Looking at the Senate data for the extended period, Minnesota’s own Amy Klobuchar comes in first for worst, by a wide margin. The Senate indices reflect less turnover than the House indices. As calculated for the fiscal years 2001-2016, Klobuchar scored a turnover index of 0.36. Klobucahr beat her closest competitor, Maria Cantwell, by a wide margin. Cantwell scored a turnover index of 0.30. Klobuchar clobbered her.
The Politico story on the LegiStorm “worst boss” rankings was brought to my attention in Star Tribune reporter Patrick Coolican’s Morning Hot Dish email newsletter. The Star Tribune faithfully covers Klobuchar’s proclaimed (emphasis on proclaimed) accomplishments. See, for example, my post “Amy Klobuchar, giant of the Senate.” I am curious whether the Star Tribune will cover Klobuchar’s recognition as very possibly the worst boss in the United States Senate.