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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, November 22, 2010

Guilt by association

Marty Meehan may have the potential to be the greatest president in the history of the University of Massachusetts. Unlucky for him, the job is open at just the wrong time.

Coming on the heels of the twin scandals of the probation department and the "retirement" of Middlesex County Sheriff James DiPaola -- not to mention the Marian Walsh debacle -- this is not a good time to be an insider for a state paycheck.

Even if you are qualified -- as Meehan certainly seems to be after three years as chancellor of the UMass campus in Lowell.

The search committee has apparently conducted the proverbial nationwide search and seems to be leaning to the well-connected former congressman. Between his current stint in higher education administration -- and his depth of knowledge in the hard knock realities of the higher education funding at the state and national levels, Meehan has perhaps the most important asset required of college presidents today.

The ability to open doors and wallets.

That was also true of UMass President once-removed William F. Bulger who, his family relationships notwithstanding, did a good job of leading UMass between pushed in by Gov. Bill Weld and pushed out by Gov. Mitt Romney.

And that is an important point to ponder before jumping all over Patrick for raising questions about the selection process. Like it or not, governors do have a say in helping to fill some of the higher-paid jobs in Massachusetts.

Patrick is right to raise questions, particularly in light of his own problems with Walsh and the growing outrage over the shenanigans of elected officials in feathering their nests and the nests of their friends.

Putting the spotlight on Meehan now -- and letting him win or lose the job openly and not in a backroom deal -- will best serve Patrick, Meehan and UMass students.

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Blogger Ryan said...

I know a lot of people from Lowell, and not one of them thinks Meehan has been good for UMASS Lowell.

November 22, 2010 6:48 PM  

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