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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Anyone minding the store?

The screw-ups just keep on coming for the Patrick administration.

One day after the double whammy of stories that suggest the administration seems to favor the Patriots over the homeless we are treated to a Globe story that shows the one thing the state's overburdened transportation doesn't seem to be lacking is highly paid bureaucrats.

And this one really raises the question of whether anyone in the Corner Office is paying attention.

I agreed with the sacking of the ineffective Bernard Cohen, and while queasy about the appointment of James Aloisi Jr., I thought he might know where the skeletons were buried and do something about it.

It appears instead that he brought in his own skeletons.

So the new super Massachusetts Department of Transportation is larded to the gills with undersecretaries and spokesmen and women. What ever happened to the basic business practice of showing the old boss' minions out the door along with him (presumably with some severance or at least unemployment insurance.)?

Of course, this administration and who knows how many before it isn't the only one with political appointees filling its ranks. The Globe's MBTA editorial rightly notes the number of "heads-up" calls about job seekers that make their way from the offices of Transportation Committee co-chairs Rep. Joe Wagner of Chicopee and Sen. Steve Baddour of Methuen.

But if ever an agency needed a top to bottom cleansing of what Bill Weld once incongruously referred to as "walruses," this is it.

And governor, you may want to take a look at how well your own senior staff is serving you -- whether they inform of these inexcusable foul-ups. And if you press ahead despite their warnings, you may also need to take a good look in the mirror.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Who's opposing Deval in the primary, anyway? I think I'm pretty much done with this man- although it really took some undoing. I was a strong supporter for quite awhile.

November 08, 2009 9:14 PM  
Anonymous Doug Rubin said...

It is important to look at the full picture. The Patrick administration led the charge on transportation reform -abolishing the Turnpike Authority after years of Republicans only talking about it, ending the 23 and out perk at the MBTA, finally joining 49 othe states in using civilian flaggers, and developing a $3B accelerated bridge program to make up for a severe lack of investment in our roads and bridges.

Is there more work to do? Of course, and Secretary Mullan is the right person to do it. He has ordered a review of "every seat in the house", and will work hard to ensure the merger of all transportation agencies delivers on the promise of savings and more effecient operations. So let's make sure we look at the whole picture and not just one media story as we review the Patrick/Murray administration.

November 09, 2009 11:44 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Thanks for the comment Doug. The changes so far have been significant and no doubt will take time to implement.

But you as well as anyone knows that good policy work can be undone by bad staff work. And there sure is a case to be made for bad staff work here.

With unemployment so high, one thing folks have no stomach for is what can be seen as make-work jobs. High-paying ones at that.

November 10, 2009 5:05 AM  
Anonymous Doug Rubin said...

I agree, there is still much more work to do. But just like your argument on Coakley's vote against the health care bill, let's not let perfection get in the way of important victories.

I just wanted to make the point that, taken as a whole, the Patrick administration has made tremendous, important strides in reforming our transportation system and making long-term investments in our roads and bridges. That doesn't mean we have done everything right, only that we have clearly made great strides that have real benefits for the people of the Commonwealth.

November 10, 2009 8:58 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Ouch, having my own words turned against me. What do you do for a living Doug? :-)

November 11, 2009 5:46 AM  

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