Rich Hood has a bumpy road ahead as MoDOT’s communications director.

One For The Price Of Two 

Rich Hood has a bumpy road ahead as MoDOT’s communications director.

Every now and then the people in charge of spending our tax dollars do something so certifiably silly that it leaves us dumbfounded.

Oops. Sorry about the plagiarism in that first paragraph. Rich Hood, Missouri's brand-new, $97,000-a-year government spokesman, wrote that sentence back in October 1998 when he was still editorial page editor at The Kansas City Star.

Hey, we don't begrudge the jackpot to any journalist who hits it after toiling in newspaper salt mines. As communications director for the Missouri Department of Transportation, Hood is sitting pretty: The Associated Press says his salary exceeds even that of Governor Bob Holden's mouthpiece, Jerry Nachtigal.

In fact, now MoDOT can't afford to hire a director of planning and pay Hood, which is bad news because MoDOT actually needs some planning. State Auditor Claire McCaskill reported on September 18 that MoDOT's "completion of projects on the five-year plans does not clearly correlate to any preestablished goals." In other words, MoDOT's plans aren't plans at all because they lack goals.

In Jefferson City, House Transportation Chairman Don Koller told MoDOT Director Henry Hungerbeeler he has plenty of "communications" staffers (Hood makes 73), according to the AP.

It all brings to mind some of Hood's greatest hits:

"We have always believed that the central office was overstaffed with overpaid and underworked bureaucrats," he wrote in a June 9, 1998, column on the Kansas City, Missouri, school district.

"Maybe it's nothing more than our recent heat wave, but I find myself a trifle cranky with some of the politicians and bureaucrats who are convinced they can spend my money much more wisely than I can," he sniveled on August 8, 1999.

"[Tom] Daschle's core constituency is made up of folks who believe that wealth should be redistributed from those who earned it to whomever the social engineers believe is more worthy to possess it," Hood sniffed two weeks before the Star reclaimed his office keys last June.

We searched electronic databases for a Rich Hood diatribe containing the word "pothole." Funny how he left no legacy of outrage about Missouri's most prevalent geological feature.

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