When a sitting steward clearly demonstrates that he/she is not equal to the tasks assigned by statute and rule, that steward should, of course be removed from the position. When the steward in question is the racing commission’s own chief steward (in jurisdictions that use that format), the potential for disaster increases significantly because of the misplaced power that comes with the position. I have expressed my opposition to the concept of having a chief steward on the board in previous postings. My reasons for opposing that format have just manifested themselves in the form of Commowealth of Kentucky Hearing Officer Robert Layton‘s Findings Of Fact and Conclusions Of Law in the matter of John Veitch.
I can’t help but wonder what qualities, skills or traits were exhibited by Mr. Veitch that made him the ultimate choice of those commissioners voting in favor of hiring him for this position. I know it wasn’t his prior experience as a racing official or steward because he had none. I would love to know the motivation behind those votes. Finally, on the subject of John Veitch, I admit I do not have all the facts surrounding his hiring, but I believe the Kentucky commission and staff did a credible job of removing him as promptly as due process would permit.
I know that I am not alone in my desire to have as many commissioners as possible, in all racing states, to give broader and deeper consideration of those individuals seeking approval to work as stewards. The extra effort helps to avoid potential litigation, embarassment and lack of confidence in the commission’s leadership.