Jeff Feingold is
Editor of NH Business Review's print and
on-line editions. He has
been a business journalist for more than 25 years, and recognized
by the Small Business Administration as National
Small Business Journalist of the Year.
Before we begin, let's take a deep breath and remember the things we've all said that we wished we hadn't.
Now, consider what it would have been like if those words were spoken into a microphone at a public forum and then recorded and reported by dutiful media representatives. Can't imagine? Well, ask William Zimmerman - he can give you the gruesome details.
Zimmerman, an education consultant, was hired by the Claremont School District to help it find a new superintendent. At a Dec. 6 forum, he was asked to explain the characteristics he thought were important for a superintendent for the district's students.
Said Zimmerman: "When you are working with a gifted community, when you are working with a high level, high-wealth community, with a huge amount of money and children who come from an extraordinarily talented gene pool, then it is easy to score at the top of everything. But when you come to a community with poor people, poor children, disorientation in the family and community, that is a very tough demographic to deal with. Hopefully we will get the right superintendent."
Not surprisingly, the folks in the city's "gene pool" took offense at the comments, calling it "offensive," "negative," "discriminatory" and had the connotation that the city has "a dysfunctionality here that is beyond affluence."
You couldn't call that a good audience reaction, particularly for a paid consultant who has worked as a superintendent in Massachusetts.
To his credit, Zimmerman seems to be a fast learner. Or at least he's quick to be contrite.
As he told the Valley News: "What I was trying to say is that children from a very affluent community where the parents have a lot of wealth and educational background, typically score better on
achievement tests. That was the point I was trying to make, but I guess I didn't do it very well."
No, he didn't.
So what have we here? News that new House Speaker Bill O'Brien - the man who makes his political enemies mad just by breathing - was the brains behind a company that outsourced legal work to India.
(Apparently, like cars, computers and customer service, even legal work can be done overseas and not by American workers.)
According to a piece by Shira Schoenberg in the Concord Monitor, O'Brien formed Outlec Legal Services in 2005, a company created with the goal of offering offshore legal knowledge and other outsourcing services to lawyers in small and medium-sized law firms and corporate law departments.
The beauty part - well, one of the beauty parts: While O'Brien was Outlec's president and CEO,
the veep of business development was none other than Bob Mead, the man who is now at O'Brien's side as chief of staff, after resigning from the House seat a day after being sworn in.
It never really came together for O'Brien - who's a lawyer who practices in New Hampshire and Massachusetts - by the way. He ended up dropping the idea. Not for lack of interest, he said, but lack of capital.
"If you can get a venture capitalist who wants to put a couple million dollars into it, I'll try again," said the speaker to the Monitor reporter.
Another beauty part: O'Brien actually told Schoenberg that outsourcing legal work to India would mean that "we would have been able to have a business employing a lot of people not just in India but also here. ... Our hope was to open up new jobs here that otherwise wouldn't exist."
If you say so, Mr. Speaker.
Juliana Bergeron: The Cheshire County GOP chair throws her hat into the ring in the race to succeed John Sununu as head of the state party.
Jennifer Horn: In a Union Leader op-ed piece, the former Republican congressional hopeful lays out the qualities she'd like to see in the person who next heads the state GOP - a job for which she is a likely candidate.
Jordan Ulery: The four-term state rep from Hudson announces his plans to run for national Republican committeeman.
Alexander Lee: The founder of Project Laundry, and thorn in the side of the state Democratic Party regulars, announces plans to move to
China for a year to teach English.
Richard Lehmann: The Concord attorney, lawyer for the pro-tax cap New Hampshire Advantage Coalition and former Senate legal counsel, returns to the job to advise the Peter Bragdon-led Senate.
Judd Gregg: New Hampshire's outgoing U.S. senator says he won't take the $5 million-a-year job as CEO of the Business Roundtable.
Tim Pawlenty: The outgoing Minnesota governor lays out a national book tour that begins in January and includes two days in New Hampshire and two days in Iowa.
Joseph Mollica: The Sunapee restaurateur, and member of the State Liquor Commission, is promoted to chair the SLC, replacing interim chair Earl Sweeney.
It's been making the rounds...
• Is the emerging race to find New Hampshire's new national Republican committeeman a good or bad thing for the state GOP?
• Likewise the contest to find John Sununu's successor as state GOP chair.
• House Republicans have formed not one but two caucuses they label "pro-business." And the Democrats?
• Nice of the Union Leader to print that op-ed piece by Jennifer Horn explaining the kind of person she'd like to see run the New Hampshire Republican Party - without identifying her as a potential candidate for state GOP chair.
• Who knows if the nonpartisan "No Labels" effort is going to take off, but you know New Hampshire is one of the places where they'll be spending plenty of time for us to find out.