Today’s Boston Globe furthered the political misery surrounding the Patrick Administration, with two stories culled from internal emails putting the Administration in a very bad light.
Contradicting a series of steadfast denials, internal e-mails show that Governor Deval Patrick’s top aides controlled the appointment of state Senator Marian Walsh to a high-paying job at a state authority, from setting her salary to crafting her job description. They also provided the agency’s talking points for the news media in an attempt to quell a public uproar. “I’m going to send you a proposed job description from [Patrick chief of staff Doug Rubin] soon,” Patrick senior adviser Jay Gonzalez told the two top officials at the Massachusetts Health and Education Facilities Authority in a March 11 e-mail.
The Patrick Administration has steadfastly denied any involvement in the Walsh hiring, pointing to HEFA as the responsible entity. While not many placed any credibility in those denials today’s Globe story outs them as totally false, with the entire operation being run out of the Governor’s office. The salary offer of $175,000 to Senator Walsh was also orchestrated by Patrick Chief of Staff Doug Rubin, who had the HEFA Board make the salary offer in spite of a survey done showing that a market rate salary for this position would be $128,500.
The salary level of $175,000 originated with the administration, the e-mails indicate. They also show that Rubin drafted Walsh’s job description. Patrick’s press office wrote the script for public statements by the agency.
On the weekend before the Patrick-controlled HEFA board unanimously approved Walsh’s appointment as assistant director, Larson asked Gonzalez to justify why the Democratic lawmaker should be paid more than $128,500. That was the amount that a Burlington-based consulting firm, The Survey Group, reported as the average market base pay for the position.
Larson asked Gonzalez to contact Rubin for backup information that would support a $175,000 salary.
“Generally, it’s lower than the $175,000 figure,” Larson wrote to Gonzalez, referring to the consultant’s survey of pay at other government agencies. “It would be helpful if Doug or others could send along some comparables so that we have substantive justifications.”
Even though the HEFA Board chair continues to deny the orchestration by the Governor’s staff it is quite clear that that is exactly what happened. And while it is no big suprise to many it is just another terrible story at a time when the Governor could use a good story or two. The Governor was not served well by staff on this matter, and the appointment of Marion Walsh to this position has to be considered “in trouble”. It is time for the Governor to cut his losses.
Read the Globe story here.