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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mixed symbols

Gov. Deval Patrick deserves a round of applause for the important symbolic act of naming one person to oversee the distribution of an estimated $1-2 billion in federal economic stimulus cash.

But the symbolism of paying real estate developer Jeffrey Simon $150,000 to administer federal financial bailout cash is also pretty striking -- for sending the wrong message.

Granted the annual salary is less than what many UMass faculty and staff earn -- and more than the governor himself. But in tough fiscal times, with police and firefighters and teachers facing layoffs, another six-figure public salary is a bad PR move.

I'm not a public employee basher and I believe people should be paid a fair salary for their work -- even if they are being paid by public dollars. There are laws in place (although not tough enough yet) to deal with abuses.

I also applaud the idea of a state web site to track the cash and how it's spent -- using 21st Century technology to avoid good old-fashioned behind-the-scenes pork.

And I firmly believe we got what we paid for when Mitt Romney and Kerry Healey opted not to take a salary.

There's also nothing inherently exorbitant about Simon's salary given his duties and obligations. The private sector would pay far more.

But I just keep coming back to the fact it is symbolically out of sync. And I suspect a large chunk of the public will too.

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Blogger Chris Rich said...

Eastern Mass Compensation bloat and jealousies are among its more unique hazards.

Jeez, I do handyman stuff for 15 bucks an hour and think I'm overpaid while many counterparts are sure their work is 'worth' 25.

Then we have that nepotistic GOP run of Spaulding and Volpe offspring running various strapped non profits such as the BSO for half million dollar plus compensation plans.

Whee, they get more than Obama to run an orchestra or produce some retread broadway plays.

Eastern massholes have simply lost all sense of humility in these things in a fat collective rush to maximize self aggrandizement, a very yucky culture.

February 12, 2009 8:08 AM  

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