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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, March 24, 2011

Left in the dark

State transportation secretary Jeffrey Mullan seems to be channeling Cool Hand Luke in describing the accountability, or lack thereof, in his agency when it comes to explaining why lights fell down in the O"Neill Tunnel.

One week after taking the blame
for leaving Deval Patrick in the dark for a month about corroded light fixtures, Mullan now says he was left out of the loop himself for a month.
“I should have known earlier; no question about it,’’ Mullan said in an interview yesterday. “It was clearly a lapse in internal communication.’’
Ya think?

The old line about the cover-up being worse than the crime springs to mind as Mullan tries to get to the bottom of what did he know, when did he know it and when did he tell Deval. The question is who is covering up -- if anyone -- and why.

But the bottom line is it is hard to conceive of a situation where lower level highway department officials wouldn't think of telling their higher-ups about a problem of this magnitude. You would think and hope that things falling from the ceiling of Big Dig tunnels would register as a Big Deal.

Patrick accepted Mullan's explanation and apparent lapse of personal judgment in telling him about the incident, expressing continued faith in his cabinet secretary. Is that still going to be true after learning Mullan was kept out of the loop for a month himself?

Let's hope some more light is shed on this major bureaucratic foul-up.

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