Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Deval's "Trivial" Pursuit

Even Governor Patrick Can't Admit His Aides Set Walsh's Salary
Repeated denials show an administration against reform, transparency

WCVB's Janet Wu: Do you accept the fact that you misjudged the salary issue, regardless of the job issue?

Governor Deval Patrick: "I didn't set the salary."

The Boston Globe's Frank Phillips: Who set the salary?

Governor Deval Patrick: "I think the HEFA board did."

Source: State House News Service video of Governor's Press Conference, (13:47 mark of video), 3/31/09

But the Boston Globe reported that "the salary level of $175,000 originiated with the administration": 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...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." (Boston Globe, 3/28/09)