Remember when racing legend Richard Petty ran for North Carolina Secretary of State back in 1996? There were a lot of reasons that Petty got thrashed by Elaine Marshall, but one of the most important was Petty’s stated intention to keep running his NASCAR team while serving. It seems almost comical now, but that was actually King Richard’s absurdly tone-deaf plan.
You’d think that little incident might have taught wannabe North Carolina public officials a lesson, but apparently some folks missed the memo. Take Dick Lindenmuth (pictured above), the Raleigh businessman recently hired by State Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker  to run the state’s new, soon-to-be privatized corporate recruiting efforts.
According to Mr. Lindenmuth, he intends to retain his position as a managing partner of Verto Partners  even as he serves in his new full-time, publicly-funded job. This is, in a word, ridiculous.
This morning, Raleigh’s News & Observer put it this way :
“That is not acceptable. This is a new, complex job, and despite Lindenmuth’s assurances that he’ll be on top of it and not involved in the day-to-day operations of his company, there must not be any chance for a distraction or a conflict. Taxpayers need to have those who work for them accountable only to them.”
As the editorial  notes, there are lots of other reasons to be very concerned about the mad rush to privatize corporate recruiting, but this one, quite fixable problem can and should be addressed ASAP.