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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The name not spoken

I wonder what Jim Kerasiotes is thinking right about now as the pathetic mug shot of Matt Amorello becomes yet another reminder of the failings of the Big Dig.

The blustering Kerasiotes was at the helm of the project for the bulk of the period when bad decisions were made, leading to the not-on-time, over-budget, poorly constructed project that literally collapsed on Melina Del Valle in 2006, crushing her to death.

Amorello, well cataloged as over his head, was simply the guy who had the misfortune to be holding the keys to the office when the roof came down after more than a decade of bad decisions, many made by Kerasiotes. Amorello was convenient scapegoat for the fourth consecutive Republican governor to preside over the project -- a Republican with much greater ambitions than the Corner Office.

As far as we know, Kerasiotes didn't complain about the Globe's 2006 headline "The real builder of the Big Dig." And while he denied responsibility for the engineering and safety decisions, the Globe notes:
He considered himself the project's chief taskmaster, responsible for demanding on-time and on-budget construction from the project's private management consortium, Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff. And he defended his tough focus on cost and schedule as the only to way ensure that the project would succeed when many doubted it could ever be built.
And we all know how that turned out.

The fall of Amorello could turn out to be very bad medicine indeed for another Big Dig-era manager who has also tried to distance himself from the role he played in the financing of the project.

The Globe recently documented the facts of Charlie Baker's involvement in creating the financial underpinnings of the never-on-time, never-on-budget project, puncturing the myth he was trying to peddle.
“There were a lot of other people involved in it, all the way through,’’ he said. “And I was looking to build consensus with all those other people who ultimately had to sign off on whatever we were doing."
The words sound vaguely familiar to those of Kerasiotes.
"Those kinds of issues were never brought up to my level," Kerasiotes said. "The only time you ever had technical review was on a matter of making a change: We're going to eliminate a ramp, that sort of thing."
The Bg Dig buck always stopped somewhere else. And apparently that somewhere was Amorello and some dark streets in Haverhill over the weekend.

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