Gosar Slams Mead’s Inaction On UW Trustee Appointments
Democratic candidate for governor Pete Gosar on Thursday denounced Republican Gov. Matt Mead's inaction regarding the illegal appointment of University of Wyoming trustees.
"If you don't follow the law as the governor, how can you ask somebody else to follow it," Gosar told several dozen people at the Best Western Ramkota.
State law says only seven UW trustees can be from the same political party, and the Casper-Star Tribune told Mead's office a month ago that there are nine Republicans on the board, one of whom is Mead's brother, he said.
"The governor's office said that's impractical to comply; we have so many appointments," Gosar said.
Previous administrations had to make lots of appointments, too, but they complied with the law, he said.
But Mead did not admit that this was wrong and quickly fixed the problem, for example, by asking his brother to step off the board, Gosar said.
Instead, Mead's office said it would right the situation as Republican trustees left the board, he said. "That's unacceptable."
In the grand scheme of things it may not be as big a deal as other issues, but it underscores a serious ethical issue, he said.
"I do believe there are two sets of rules in Wyoming; I do, I really do," he said. "And I think it's time to change that. I don't believe the governor is above the law. You (the governor) are underneath the law just like everybody else."
Gosar is Mead's main challenger in the Tuesday, Nov. 4, general election. Other candidates on the ballot are Libertarian Del Cozzens and independent Bob Wills. Taylor Haynes, who ran unsuccessfully in the Republican primary for governor, recently announced he would be a write-in candidate.
Thursday, Gosar said he attended all the gubernatorial candidate debates, and quipped that if Wills had not attended five of them he would have been debating himself.
But the Pinedale native, who is a state pilot and Laramie businessman, consistently targeted Mead.
After criticizing the UW trustee inaction, Gosar said he would operate his administration with transparency.
People should not be shut away from the information that the governor uses to make decisions such as paper documents and emails, he said. "The governor's office went to the (Wyoming) Supreme Court and the Supreme Court said, yep, all that information called 'the delivery of process,' we can conceal that from the Open Records Act."
Gosar will voluntarily disclose the information he uses to make decisions, he said.
The people are the owners of the government, and governors and legislators are the managers of the government. In a business, no manager would tell the owner that he can't see the books, Gosar said.
The information used in government decision-making is like a business's books, he said. "If you can't show the books while you're making that decision, well maybe you ought not to be making that decision."