We had a facinating meeting today at the UNC-School of Government. As Stories predicted yesterday it was a heavily proscribed discussion guided by public policy development and analysis methodology. But I will elaborate on the dangers of that approach later in a separate post.
For now, a quick fact check is necessary regarding the Swamp Merchant’s claim yesterday that the SOG was involved in the development of the original NC Fee Program. Untrue, as far as Richard Whisnant (now) of the SOG knows and informed me today in an entirely affable manner. And Richard has reason to know. He was at DENR as general counsel when the program was first developed in the mid-90’s — not at SOG as I mistakenly believed.
According to Richard, while DENR counsel he did answer some discreet legal questions regarding the program prior to it becoming law. I think that was the source of my mistake. Mitigation policy has an informal oral history maintained by the older rats in the barn. Somewhere in that history it became a relatively unimportant footnote that Richard Whisnant was involved in the formulation of the program — strictly, true. Did SOG and Richard Whisnant have a policy formulation role of the kind I was implying might bias today’s review? Plainly, no.
Richard’s limited involvement with the Fee Program was previously at DENR, not SOG. The UNC – School of Government and Richard are looking under the hood of the Fee Program for the first time.
The Swamp Merchant is duly chastened and will work to re-earn what credibility I have lost. My only solace is my belief that it is not the point of blogs to provide facts — it is the point of blogs to discover them through enhanced communication. That happened here. Sometimes being wrong in public will reveal the truth.