Monday, January 11, 2010

Herald Exposes Deval's 'Flack-A-Rama'

Unemployment is at near-record highs, the state is continuing to hemorrhage jobs, and budget-writers are looking at a structural deficit of up to $3 billion in FY11. So what is Governor Patrick doing? According to the Boston Herald, he’s been busy larding up the payroll at MassDOT, the new state transportation super-agency.

When MassDOT was created last year, it was supposed to produce huge cost-savings for taxpayers through consolidation and increased efficiencies. But the Herald reports today that there hasn’t been any downsizing of PR “spinmeisters” since the various transportation agencies merged. In fact, the 10 individuals that were in place before the restructuring have all been retained under the new agency, and they’ve even added one more to their ranks: former Patrick spokesman Joe Landolfi.

According to the Herald, these 11 communications employees are collectively pulling in more than $800,000 a year, or about $73,000 per employee on average. Landolfi alone is making $119,000 a year. If this is the governor’s idea of reform, we can only imagine what it would take to get him to classify something as wasteful spending.

Landolfi has apparently jumped headfirst into his new role, and was clearly attempting to put a little “spin” of his own on the story when he told the Herald “we haven’t been just sitting still here.” He also tried to deflect some of the criticism by pointing out that his salary is paid for by the governor’s office, not MassDOT. But let’s be real: no matter how you slice it, it’s all taxpayer money that’s being used.

Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei said it best when he noted that Governor Patrick has “really fallen down on the job as far as implementing the law and wringing out the savings we all know are there.”