Funziun Cumiziuneir and former FDA Membreu dal Cosa Txosuè Éiric Rôibeardescù courted controversy last week with hist first appointment to the Funziun, drawing fire for appointing Membreu dal Cosa Gaglhen Fortaleça of the Talossan Socialist Party to the position of "Head of the Bureau of Space Exploration and Rocketry" (Büreu d'Esploraziun Espaçal es Rac'hetría). Opponents of the appointment had myriad concerns, ranging from worries about the appointment process, disagreement with the necessity of the posting, and even concerns about the post being used as a secret bribe to kill Fortaleça's "Claiming the Moon" amendment.
The "Claiming the Moon" amendment, covered in last issue's headline story, has been a subject of considerable debate. Despite fierce opposition, Fortaleça has managed to find a surprising amount of cross-party support for the idea of annexing the moon. Several MCs and two Senators indicated either their support or their openness to the idea, even over the vociferous objections and arguments of other legislators. Perhaps in interest of party unity, or perhaps out of fears that a bill he opposed may pass, Rôibeardescù seems to have determined to persuade its sponsor to let the amendment die in the Hopper, unclarked. According to Fortaleça, he contacted the TSP MC with an offer: "let it die," and Rôibeardescù would use his position as Funziun Cumiziuneir to appoint Fortaleça to a posting in the Büreu d'Esploraziun Espaçal es Rac'hetría. "I semi-said yes," Fortaleça said, "and he gave me the position."
Documentation backs up Fortaleça's story. On July 12th, Rôibeardescù wrote the TSP MC to say that, "As civil service commissioner I do have authority and intend to promote you to the head of BEER ... on one condition... leave the moon ... planetary objects have some legal problems that we as a nation do not have the Where with all to deal with [sic]." He further suggested that Fortaleça could use his new position to try to work with a university to partially fund a satellite, saying that such a project and others "wouldn't be limited by legal problems. Also satellites can be an actual reality... moon mission less so. Let me know what you think."
When Fortaleça seemed generally agreeable to the proposal, but said that he thought there was popular support for the bill, Rôibeardescù responded bluntly the next day, writing, "Just let it die, don't post on it, don't Clark it, you can set up other bills to promote the bureaux."
A few hours later, apparently assured in his own mind of cooperation from Fortaleça, Rôibeardescù appointed him to the new position -- without disclosing the deal that he'd made behind the scenes.
The public, on the other hand, only saw the abrupt announcement from the Cumiziuneir: "By the powers invested in me by his majesty King John, I the Funziun cumiziuneir, hearby apoint Gaglhen Fortaleça as the Head of the Bureau of Space Exploration and Rocketry. May he serve his country well and push us to new frontiers."
The sudden appointment of Fortaleça to the previously-defunct BEER, which currently has no Government-appointed leader, came as a surprise to many. It immediately drew harsh fire from opponents of all stripes. Critics attacked Rôibeardescù for making the appointment without an open applications process -- or even any prior announcement of the position. Senator Magniloqueu Épiqeu da Lhiun wrote, "You cannot offer a job to the first guy you think is good for the job, without giving other citizens who may possibly have been applicants, the chance to apply for the job, and to convince you... What were you thinking?" MC Sir C. M. Siervicül of the RUMP echoed this concern, and further charged that the appointment wasn't even legally valid, since it was not made by a Secretary appointed to the ministry under which BEER might fall: "Lexh.C.1.7.6 seems to say that chiefs of bureaus are to be appointed by the secretary for the responsible ministry (with the approval of the Commissioner). Not by the Commissioner or by the Government."
Perhaps most oddly, even Seneschal C. Carlüs Xheraltescù publicly questioned the move, going so far as to imply that he had already privately told Rôibeardescù that he had no need of a Secretary in that position. When asked for comment on the arrangement with the lunar bill, the Seneschal would say only that he had been made aware of the problem and that he was looking into it, declining to comment any further.
Subsequent to the appointment, a discussion over the finer legal aspects of the appointment continued into the next day, at which point Fortaleça -- worried over being what he called "sort-of-bribed" and the legality of the posting -- resigned his new position, writing, "Since there seems to be a bit of trouble I resign as head of BEER and call for there to be an application process to select the head of BEER."
When reached by Beric'ht Talossan, Rôibeardescù refused to answer any questions about the clandestine deal or the apppointment, saying he wished to be quoted as replying. "No comment, Mr. Police Officer."