Saturday, March 28, 2009

Patrick aides directed hiring of Walsh

The plot thickens as we learn today from the Globe, aides to Deval controlled the hiring of Walsh and her salary and her job description. This just won't go away for Deval and his band of party loyalists.

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.

As of late this week, one of those officials, HEFA chairman Allen Larson, continued to say that the push to hire Walsh came from the authority.

"I would deny that," he said when asked if the Patrick administration engineered the hiring. "We have been looking for the additional staff expertise since I got on the board. We have been working with the administration to figure that out. But I do not consider this an orchestrated matter."

The e-mails indicate, however, that Larson and his staff worked closely with Gonzalez, Patrick's undersecretary of administration and finance, in the days leading up to the board's decision on March 12 to hire Walsh as a $175,000 a year assistant executive director. (After Patrick's action kicked up a political firestorm, Walsh requested this week that the salary be reduced to $120,000.)

The e-mails were released to the Globe after a public records request.

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."

There is no e-mail that describes how the administration responded, but other documents show that after the board vote, the agency's executive director, Benson Caswell, wrote Walsh offering her the job at the $175,000 salary. Another document shows Walsh's total salary package, which includes retirement benefits and healthcare coverage, would have totaled $242,442.

The entire story


At March 29, 2009 at 1:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this really a surprise to anyone? It shouldn't be!

At March 29, 2009 at 1:58 PM , Blogger Harry said...

More of the same thing. How can any of us support Patrick at this point? Not just bad judgement in play here, this man has also been caught lying to us. Once that happens, how can you trust any thing that comes out of his mouth? I wanted to support him, and I wanted to beleive in him, but that is just impossible to do at this point in the game. He is just like so many others in power, corrupted by the beleif that is is more important than any law, or any other person. That is so not true, but you could not prove that in the political world, at least not here in MA.

At March 31, 2009 at 11:21 AM , Blogger fed up in framingham said...

MA politics at their finest. If they gave awards for lying politicians like they do Academy Awards, I think MA just might sweep the event. That being said, what the hell do we do about it?

At March 31, 2009 at 12:09 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Things are happening.... operation Clean Sweep is under way and I hope to be able to report to all of you soon, what the plan is.

Taking back the State House is our only re coarse in 2010.

At March 31, 2009 at 4:38 PM , Blogger Edward said...

The Governor, and his staff, have lied to us. The Governor, and his staff, have been caught lying to us. The Governor, and his staff, don’t think they owe any of us an explanation or defense about why they lied to us. The Governor, and his staff, think we should believe all the things they are telling us now, about the need for increased taxes, decreased services, and higher tolls. The Governor, and his staff, tell us we need to tighten our belts and lower our expectations. The Governor, and his body guards, enjoyed several days in Jamaica where they enjoyed some much needed rest from their tough work schedules. The Governor, and his legislature, have worked since January 1st less hours than I have worked since last Monday. The Governor, and his staff, and his Legislators need a reality check!

At March 31, 2009 at 4:57 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Edward... the good news is.. Walsh won't take the job, and he won't fill it with anyone else.

Thanks to all of you who complained as I did... he lost ground in this fight for sure with the people who voted for him.

At March 31, 2009 at 5:14 PM , Blogger Eric said...

Great job Jim in helping us get a fair and equitable resolution to this fiasco! Hats off to you

At April 1, 2009 at 10:10 AM , Blogger Dylan said...

We proved a point by getting Walsh to turn down that job, if we raise enough of a public outcry, they can not simply ignore us, although the Governor himself did a good job of ignoring us. I think we need to carefully choose which things we really raise the public outcry about, but this blog seems to be on target about which things that should be. Looking forward to the next “battle” and directions from “General” Pilslbury here.

At April 1, 2009 at 11:32 AM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Dylan... exactly the point...WE, you and all the rest of those who stand up for what's right have made a difference.

FYI... Army Lt. Gen. James H. Pillsbury, U.S. Army Materiel Command deputy commanding general... a whole lot of title and from what I read about him. We must be related. He's spoken out against waste in his ops and appears not to be afraid to tell the truth.


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