If you have not checked out the blog, "Between Editions" by Allison Gatlin with the El Dorado News-Times, you are missing out.

It is one of the best blogs run by a local newspaper.  Other newspapers should check it out as great model for how to integrate online news with your local print publication.

Gatlin reports on a visit yesterday by Secretary of State Mark Martin who continues to defend the spending by his office by pointing out his office came in under budget.  As I noted in my column a couple of weeks ago, this explanation does not hold water as every constitutional office does this as the legislature purposefully overbudgets for them.  From Gatlin’s report…

During the El Dorado Civitan meeting today Secretary of State Mark Martin hounded repeatedly on his $3.2 million under budget record, using the feat as a rationale for spending $54,000-plus in hiring the Soderquist Center for Leadership and Ethics.

In a lightning fast, post-lunch interview Martin explained that hiring the firm was necessary to bring together the bi-partisan staff under him into one conducive unit.

“I think our budget speaks for itself,” he said, responding to a question about spending discretionary money in an anti-spending climate. “We came in at $3.2 million under budget.”

The number was a buzzword throughout both his talk and the interview and functions frequently as a talking point for him — made evident in a recent Democrat-Gazette story that blasted him for touting the record so often.

However, Martin remains unconcerned with the criticism, stating, “I don’t have a thick skin, I have dragon scales.”


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