Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is getting into the bad habit of replacing cabinet members and other top state employees with no explanation.
The latest incident was the firing of Sarah Steelman, whom Parson previously referred to as a friend. She was asked to resign effective immediately on Oct. 12. No explanation was given, even to Steelman.
Prior to that, former Health Director Randall Williams and COO Drew Erdmann were asked to resign.
Again, no explanations were given, and the resignation letters were withheld from public disclosure.
According to a recent story by the Missouri Independent, the governor also replaced the general counsel for the Office of Administration, which is the agency that handles contracts and purchasing for state government.
Caroline Coulter replaced Jim McAdams, the news source reported. McAdams served as general counsel for the Office of Administration for the last four years after decades working in state government.
In the business world, replacing top employees with no explanation might be the norm. If it's a privately held company, there aren't even shareholders to be accountable to.
But in government, the governor and other public employees act on behalf of all Missourians. We are the shareholders. So it becomes an issue of transparency.
On this issue, Democrats are right to cry foul: "All of this happening with no public explanation is a giant red flag," House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, said in the Missouri Independent story. "And when it's the state agency that handles contracts, at a time when there are lots of questions about no-bid contracts and state spending, the way the governor is handling it just fuels conspiracies."
It also fuels considerable speculation, which we won't get into here.
We realize the shakeup in Parson's administration might be embarrassing. No one wants to air dirty laundry.
But resignation letters should be public documents and the governor should give at least some explanation as to why he's replacing some of the top employees at the state.