The bigger question is whether Latham can fulfill his obligations to the state as chaplain. Judging from a recent Star report, he's not even qualified to hold the job. Nor does he seem to have time to do the work. FSSA Secretary Mitch Roob not only needs to replace Latham; he also should explain why he got so little in return for $100,000 in tax dollars.
Latham's lack of a college degree isn't a problem in itself; plenty of clergymen run churches without benefit of a sheepskin. But the fact that FSSA hired him even though he was unqualified to serve a similar role in one of its own hospitals is disconcerting.
In fact, the whole process suggests that politics might have played a role in Latham's hiring. Roob denies that, despite Latham's previous campaigning for Gov. Mitch Daniels. But what else could justify such poor judgment?
By failing to get the clergy-based counseling program up and running after its debut last October, it's questionable whether Latham can apply his real-world experience -- a reason Roob cites for hiring him -- to operations. If anything, the lack of success on this score, along with the fact that Latham continues to hold two other jobs -- hardly gives taxpayers confidence in this deal.
Latham may be good at his other jobs, which include running the Fort Wayne branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. But he failed as chaplain. An investigation by the state's Inspector General is justified to determine how Latham got the job in the first place. The agency might also want to think about whether the chaplain's role is truly needed.
Daniels often says government should be run more like a business. But what business could survive long by setting up deals like this one? This is bad business, and that does not make good government.
Somebody in the Daniels administration should figure out this isn't worth the fight. I can already see this being an effective 30-second campaign spot by his Democratic opponent next year to undermine his argument that he's cleaning up state government and making it more efficient. The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette weighs in with its negative opinion of Latham and his job as well.