Wednesday, August 11, 2010

DeNucci gives out raises

Any wonder why so many tax payers are outraged over State government?

Despite an economic downturn and widespread job and wage cuts for many workers, outgoing state Auditor A. Joseph DeNucci has awarded a 5 percent raise to his staff, retroactive to July 1.

A DeNucci spokesman defended the raises, which he said would cost about $350,000 through the end of the year, as just compensation for a staff that has not seen a pay boost in nearly four years and has taken 11 furlough days over the last two years.

All the candidates running for State Auditor will be faced with the question of whether to rescind these pay raises, which will muddy the waters in the upcoming debates.

At last... the Engine 7 accident report

Well we know now, or at least we've been told, it was not driver error in the now famous roll over of Engine 7. Instead, we are told it's the truck that failed. There seems to be no word from the manufacture, but one thing is for sure, the report does say that the fireman were not wearing their seat belts. It's a miracle no one was seriously hurt, but taxpayers may be asked to spend big money to sue the manufacture.

The one final question I have is, why no drug or alcohol test?

Selectmen and Fire Chief Gary Daugherty refused to comment last night on the newly released report on April's Engine 7 crash after meeting behind closed doors to discuss it.

The chief and board members would not say whether the town will be taking legal action given police investigators' conclusion that faulty all-wheel steering likely caused the 9-year-old Pierce pumper to veer off Edgell Road and roll over on April 10, injuring the four firefighters aboard.

The officials were also mum on another finding in the report state police released on Monday: that the injuries the firefighters in the cab sustained "can be directly related" to their failure to buckle up. Wearing a seat belt is required by department policy.

"I think most of the guys do what they do at home and wear seat belts just for their own protection," firefighters union president Pete DeVito said yesterday.

DeVito said he never asked the four firefighters if they were strapped in as they were returning to the Nobscot station from a call around 7:30 a.m.

"We do wear seat belts whenever we can," he said. "We're supposed to."

Three of the department veterans who were injured in the crash remain out on paid medical leave. The fourth man, Dave Carol, who was driving the truck, retired as he had planned to do.

Esty said she was bothered the report's results were printed in yesterday's Daily News.

Selectman Jason Smith said one of the four men hurt told him he was wearing his seat belt. "I 100 percent believe him," Smith said.

The long-awaited report cleared Carol, saying he was not speeding and made no driving error. Framingham and state police investigators, instead, blamed the crash on the truck's Oshkosh all-steer axles.

Town Counsel Chris Petrini on Monday said he would be working with selectmen to decide whether to bring a lawsuit against Pierce Manufacturing, the Wisconsin-based truck maker.

655 million for Massachusetts.

The U.S. House passed a bill yesterday extending $26.1 billion to states, including roughly $200 million in education money and $450 million in Medicaid cash for Massachusetts. Patrick said he believes state lawmakers will have to return to dole out the federal dough to several state agencies.

“I assume that would require formal session,” said Patrick, who also urged the Legislature to take up his casino plan authorizing three resort casinos but no slots.

A bill legalizing three casinos and two slot licenses was all but dead last week after Patrick sent it back without the slot parlors. Legislators ended formal session July 31, so two-thirds of them would have to agree to return to formal session to take up either the federal aid appropriation or the casino bill.

Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said state departments could go without the federal money until lawmakers come back into session in January.

Another bail out for our State which should help schools, cops and fireman. Lets see how Beacon Hill deals with this and if indeed they come back to formal session. Another crack at casinos may be in the works.