MO Gov. Mike Parson misled on contract with McChrystal Group

Christel Deskins

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson made clear to the public that the state would not be paying a consulting firm for help with its coronavirus response. And then Parson went ahead and did exactly that, as the state awarded a generous no-bid contract to the McChrystal Group and used funds intended […]

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson made clear to the public that the state would not be paying a consulting firm for help with its coronavirus response.

And then Parson went ahead and did exactly that, as the state awarded a generous no-bid contract to the McChrystal Group and used funds intended to mitigate the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic to foot the bill.

Parson’s administration has approved spending more than $829,000 in federal coronavirus relief funds on a no-bid contract with the Virginia-based consulting firm. Kelli Jones, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office, told The Star that the state’s emergency procurement statute allows the bidding process to be waived during a public health crisis. Nothing illegal or unethical took place, she told The Star Editorial Board.

“Governor Parson does not lie,” she said. “We are transparent with the media and constituents.”

Really?

In May, Parson told reporters that the nonprofit Missouri Foundation for Health would cover up to $600,000 in expenses related to data-collection work done by the firm headed by retired four-star Army General Stanley McChrystal, who was unceremoniously relieved of his duties in 2010.

Less than a month later, the Parson administration inked a no-bid contract with the McChrystal Group that has paid out more than $829,000 in federal funding, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported this week.

The Missouri Foundation for Health provided the funding for the McChrystal Group through May, the governor’s office says.

Either way, Parson abrogated his responsibility to all Missourians by using federal relief funds to pay the McChrystal Group for strategic advice on the state’s response to the pandemic.

Most of the McChrystal Group’s clients are corporations, and the firm works with organizations to “tap into human potential in service of stronger business outcomes,” according to its website. How, exactly, the firm has helped the state battle COVID-19 isn’t entirely clear.

“Today, all we have to show for it is rising infections, delayed school reopenings, a positivity rate over 10%, and a spot in the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s Red Zone,” Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway, the Democractic nominee for governor, said.

Parson said Thursday that the McChrystal Group’s work has been valuable.

“Having outside resources to come in and help us through this was one of the better things we’ve done at the time,” he said.

The governor has consistently failed to listen to health experts, putting the health and safety of Missouri residents in danger.

The governor has ignored advice from the White House pandemic task force and has refused to issue a statewide mask mandate. Missouri remains in the red zone for coronavirus cases.

In the early days of the pandemic, Parson failed to shut down the state to slow the spread of the virus.

“We take very seriously the use of all CARES Act funding we have received, which is why we transparently disclose this information to the public on an online portal,” the governor’s spokeswoman said.

Of the more than $2 billion in federal aid Missouri has received to combat COVID-19, a little more than $1.5 billion has been spent.

If Parson intended to be transparent about how federal money is being spent, why would he mislead the public about the state’s agreement with McChrystal’s consulting firm?

The deal stinks worse than manure from the cattle ranch Parson owns in southwest Missouri.

Related stories from Kansas City Star

Next Post

Want To Get Promoted? Buying Into These Three Career Myths Could Be Sabotaging Your Efforts

Certified Career Strategist & Executive Coach, Founder of UPPSolutions, elevating careers for more influence, impact and income. getty If you are like how I was years ago, you might feel that having the education, experience, work ethic, right certifications and trying to be the best at your job is what it […]