breaking news

UPDATE: Two injured in Southwest Austin explosion in good condition

Herman: Driver needed. Must be willing to spend time with Sid Miller

It seems that Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, he of the cowboy ways and colorful words, drives some people nuts. Now you have an opportunity to drive him everywhere.

The commish is looking for a driver. The official title on the job posting is “Special Assistant to the Commissioner — Vehicle Driver,” and the “job objective” portion of the posting says the special assistant will “perform highly complex motor vehicle operations work for the Commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture.”

Looks like “highly complex motor vehicle operations work” is something many of us call “driving.” I like to drive. I think I want this job. (Come to think of it, something about Uber for goober somehow seems appropriate here, but that would be wrong.)

“Work involves safely operating motor vehicles used in the transport of the Commissioner and other Executive TDA staff,” the job objective says. “Work under limited supervision with considerable latitude for the use of initiative and independent judgment.”

I like working under limited supervision. Who doesn’t?

The job involves 14 “essential duties” and one “non-essential” duty. I can do all of these, though the non-essential one seems a bit ill-defined. It’s the dreaded “Perform other duties as assigned.”

The first essential duty listed is to “oversee and ensure the safe loading and unloading of the commissioner and other Executive TDA staff and transporting to the destination in a timely manner.” From what I’ve seen of Miller and his rodeo trophies, loading and unloading him shouldn’t be a problem. Loading up his hats and guns could be challenging.

Other essential duties include picking “the most practical route to be traveled, considering safety and economy” (I have three apps for that and know where every Buc-ee’s is), operating “various types of motor vehicles, such as automobiles, vans and trucks,” helping with “any equipment or baggage” and adhering to “established work schedule with regular attendance.”

I’m good on all of those, but less good on several other “essential duties” that sound like they include filling out lots of forms. But I can learn. In fact, I recently learned how to use the newspaper’s online expense account submission form just as that system was phased out in favor of a new one I hope to master by 2019 when the new system will become the old system.

Now let’s look at the “Environmental/Physical Conditions” section: “Involves traveling by car, frequently driving for long distances and frequent overnight travel. Mostly sedentary in nature but may involve walking, standing for extended periods of time, pulling and pushing; kneeling, stooping and bending; performing tasks requiring fine motor skills and coordination and safely lifting and carrying items weighing up to 50 pounds.”

Sounds like the commish doesn’t pack light for road trips. I’m guessing on a long trip there could be several pounds of 10-gallon hats. But doesn’t “Sid Miller’s Excellent Road Trip” sound like a movie you’d want to see?

Despite my ongoing trepidation about the “Perform other duties as assigned” verbiage, I’m up for this job. There’s no way that traveling with Miller wouldn’t be a hoot. There’s no way that anything having to do with Miller isn’t a hoot. This guy exudes hoot. He is maximum hootage, save for maybe when his Twitter account passes along an obscenely derogatory comment about Hillary Clinton or passes along fake news on Facebook or when he bad mouths a steak or when he uses state money in questionable ways for travel.

Miller last year reimbursed the state for a taxpayer-funded Oklahoma City trip that the Houston Chronicle reported might have been for him to receive an anti-inflammatory injection known as a “Jesus shot.” No charges were brought against Miller, and he has declined to say if he got the injection.

The driver salary is listed at $2,450 to $2,916.67 per month. OK, that’s not big bucks, crunching out to a max of $35,000 a year, which probably is a living wage in Miller’s hometown of Stephenville. But money isn’t everything, folks — unless you like to buy things.

And it looks like I meet all the qualifications. I have a high school diploma or equivalent. I have “work experience providing executive level support” (You ever try to satisfy persnickety editors?). I have a valid driver’s license and the required “acceptable driving record.” I’m willing to “travel up to 80 percent of the work period.”

And I have “minimum one year work experience in the operation of motor vehicles on a commercial basis.” Wait a minute. No, I don’t. But I think we can get that waived just like former Gen. James Mattis got a waiver on the provision that said military folks have to be nonmilitary for seven years prior to be eligible to run the Defense Department.

I will, however, have to check with my rabbi prior to applying to get his input on any potential involvement with taking Miller for a Jesus shot, should that come up.

One other thing: Does the fact that the posting popped up after Miller’s recent meeting with Donald Trump indicate Miller is not confident of getting a Washington job in the new administration?

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Opinion

Opinion: “Militant” anti-gay activist seeks to divide Catholic flock

The music of Dan Schutte, a composer of Catholic hymns, is a staple at Visitation Parish in the heart of Kansas City. The man himself is less welcome. The renowned composer has been disinvited from a scheduled April 28 concert. That alone is shocking, as the lyrical, soothing tones of his work are heard in churches nationwide. The reasons for his disinvitation...
Opinion: Trump shows signs of taking charge

For the first year of the Trump administration, the story was one of containment and constraint. President Donald Trump was constrained ideologically by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, pursuing a conventional Republican agenda on health care and taxes and letting his populist promises hang fire. But more important he was constrained institutionally...
Letters to the editor: March 19, 2018
Letters to the editor: March 19, 2018

Since the 19th century, scientists have been warning us that continued and increasing burning of fossil fuels, which emit carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere, will eventually make life for humans all but impossible. I wonder if the folks who don’t choose to believe these warnings would be happy if we didn’t have pasteurized...
Opinion: Podcast much more than economics

There are so many things to lament about the modern world — fracturing families, the rise of authoritarianism, the rage for torn jeans — but there is also much to celebrate and savor. One is the abundance of great conversation available through podcasts. There’s my own, of course, “Need to Know,” and then there is the...
Opinion: Springtime for sycophants

When Donald Trump came to office, many feared that he would break up our close economic relations with Mexico and/or start a trade war with China. So far, neither has happened. It’s true that our free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada is still under threat, and Trump has placed tariffs on some Chinese goods. But his trade ire seems increasingly...
More Stories