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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hacking at the hacks

Hey, what about the Governor's Council?

The Herald offers a quick start guide to potentially unnecessary government agencies today -- aiming at the environmental police, the lieutenant governor's office and county government. But what about the granddaddy of all worthless appendages -- the Governor's Council?

Here's their own web site description of that colonial-era group of eight who pull down annual salaries of $26,025 each:
The Council generally meets at noon on Wednesdays in its State House Chamber, next to the Governor's Office, to act on such issues as payments from the state treasury, criminal pardons and commutations, and approval of gubernatorial appointments; such as judges, notaries and justices of the peace.
Heavy lifting it is not. The agency is so obscure you search in vain for a line item in the state budget. Instead it is rolled into the Office of the Governor.

No so its members, from the legendary Patrick J. "Sonny" McDonough to Marilyn Devaney, who manage to get headlines for actions that give new meaning to the term "questionable."

As for county government, what a survivor. The Legislature, actually abolished it in 1997, but like the undead, it continues to thrive. Putting it and us out of its misery would be merciful -- although it would eliminate a spawning ground for candidates like former Norfolk County Treasurer Tim Cahill.

As for lieutenant governor, whose occupant "partner" Michael Dukakis once labeled a "second banana," the argument is a little less clear. After all, who would have filled the Corner Office after first Bill Weld, then his own-second banana, Paul Cellucci took hikes before the end of their terms?

Under the state Constitution, the job would have been inherited by Secretary of State William Francis "Prince of Darkness" Galvin.

Maybe we do need an elected second banana.

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Blogger Readwriteblue said...

Welcome to the lean government bandwagon. Now we just need you to see how destructive government help has been.

September 20, 2010 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Makes me want to sit down and have a cup of tea with him.

September 20, 2010 2:19 PM  
Anonymous HesterPrynne said...

Great idea to abolish the Governor's Council, which has long since worn out its welcome (and don't forget Mary-Ellen Manning as another good reason to dispense with it).

But I get stuck on where, if anywhere, the power to approve judicial appointments should go. Even though the Governor's Council has lapsed into irrelevance, it seems a little foolhardy not to have any check on the Governor's appointment power. Wouldn't John Adams disapprove?

September 20, 2010 2:30 PM  

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