Larry Smart’s Excellent Life As A Public Servant

Larry Small’s excellent castle where he works as a servant of the people.

Larry Small has a most excellent job, he runs the Smithsonian Institute, a job for which he gets paid more than the president of the United States, over $600,000 a year in salary, plus a housing allowance of $193,000 plus other stuff. He had no experience when he came to the job in January 2000 but then again, neither did the President. Some people say that Larry isn’t doing a good job but there are always naysayers. (The President has naysayers too)

Larry’s excellent $3.5 million dollar house, on which taxpayers pay a “hypothetical mortgage.”

Larry must be a little sloppy though because we’ve spent $273,000 for housekeeping at his place over the last six years.

Maybe he and Missus Larry should take an occasional “personal day” and stay home and dust.

It cost us $2300 to clean a chandelier.

Larry is a most excellent guy though, a real renaissance man. He speaks Italian, Spanish, Portugese and is also fluent in money. He is very good at making friends and raising money, He once was a big shot at Citi Corp and held seats on several boards of directors. Larry is a major dude, he’s connected.

Larry plays Flamenco Guitar and has excellent taste in office furniture. He paid $4,200 for two chairs for his office. They are very nice chairs made by an English guy named George. They have tapered legs.

Actually Larry didn’t pay for them we did, I mean you and me, because Larry bought the chairs with taxpayer money some of which I think, came from us. We must have a lot of it to spend though because the chairs looked so good that by the time Larry got his furniture all moved in we had spent over $150,000 decorating his office. As I said it was tastefully done.

Larry also collects excellent Amazonian artifacts tastefully made of feathers and other parts of endangered birds:

“Crisis at the Smithsonian”
Archaeology Magazine
September 19, 2002

Lawrence M. Small was at the center of the storm from the get-go. He became Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in January 2000, after a high-profile banking career at Citicorp/Citibank and Fannie Mae. Unlike previous secretaries, Small had zero credentials as a scholar and no experience with nonprofit research or educational institutions.

While the Board of Regents justified Small’s appointment by arguing that he brought with him the kind of management competence and business savvy the institution needed to improve its bottom line, he and his policies have been attacked in editorials in major newspapers, and by academics and conservators both inside and outside the Smithsonian. During his tenure, directors of seven museums have submitted their resignations. Congress has intervened after Small’s cutbacks included the proposed closure of the institution’s animal biodiversity research facility. Small seemed to raise hackles wherever he went, even on his home turf.

Commercial sponsorship of museum exhibitions has been another bone of contention. Donations from Fujifilm, Kmart, General Motors, and Catherine B. Reynolds for a “Hall of Achievers,” sparked a flurry of letters, including an open letter from a group of 170 scholars, authors, and academics to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, the chancellor of the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents. “If Mr. Small is permitted to continue his agenda,” it read, “the Smithsonian will become much like a shopping mall, with virtually every inch devoted to the promotion of a corporation or its product.”

His personal life has also been dogged by controversy. After pictures of Small’s private collection of South American masks, headdresses, and costumes appeared in the January 2000 issue of Smithsonian magazine, he was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which suspected that the pictures showed feathers from protected bird species and teeth from endangered cats. The service opened the investigation in November, closed it in March 2001, and reopened it last summer after the service reviewed additional information from published of Small’s collection and reports from ornithologists. As of April 2002, the case was still under review.

Larry Small doesn’t need Enzyte, his excellent job keeps him smiling.

Bob Higgins
Worldwide Sawdust

Read James V Grimaldi’s Excellent series on this excellent scandal at The Washington Post

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About BobHiggins

Lifelong liberal of the Tom Paine wing. Marine Vietnam vet. Have worked as a photographer, cab driver, bartender, carpenter and cabinetmaker. Now retired on a Veterans Disability program I spend my time writing and editing and complaining. Ahh the Golden Years.
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One Response to Larry Smart’s Excellent Life As A Public Servant

  1. Ginny Cotts says:

    And who appoints the Smithsonian Board of Regents who hired this pork parasite? My uncle worked for the Smithsonian after he retired from developing nuclear submarine missiles. Now I am even more sorry he died before Small was hired. Uncle Arthur would have found a way to keep him out or get him out.

    Bob, maybe we should send Larry a free sample of Enzyte. Perhaps he and his wife would stay home more often? The $125/day housecleaning tab might get cut a little…