FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Steve Crawford, Crawford Strategies, (857) 753-4132
MASSACHUSETTS DEMOCRATIC PARTY CALLS ON INSPECTOR GENERAL TO INVESTIGATE THE BAKER ADMINISTRATION’S PATRONAGE HIRES
BOSTON – In light of multiple reports of patronage hiring by the Baker Administration, Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair Gus Bickford sent the following letter calling on the Massachusetts Inspector General Glen Cunha to undertake a comprehensive audit of the EEA’s hiring practices.
Bickford called for the audit to include all new, unposted positions, and make the results of said audit accessible to the public. Since the administration does not post resumes on the state’s website, he also requested a full review of the qualifications of all new hires, including an analysis of the resumes of all new hires since January 2015.
May 31, 2017
Mr. Glen A. Cunha
Office of the Inspector General
John W. McCormack State Office Building
One Ashburton Place, Room 1311
Boston, MA 02108
RE: Call to Audit the Hiring Practices at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Dear Inspector General Cunha,
Governor Charlie Baker is obligated to hire those with professional experience to help lead our Commonwealth, but time and time again news reports have exposed a system of patronage that has become the norm in his administration. The recently reported case of Anthony Virgilio is just one example in a growing list of obvious political hires for those who “pay to play” in Republican circles. Virgilio appears to have little to no experience for a high level position in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), other than his connection to ranking members of the Baker administration.1
Patronage appears rampant at the EEA, where we have seen a steady stream of jobs provided to personal friends of this administration, many of which were never publicly posted.
It has been the consistent practice of this administration to prioritize the hiring of the personal friends, political allies, and financial supporters of executive cabinet members such as Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and EEA Secretary Matthew Beaton. According to the Boston Globe, “more than half a dozen hires in Governor Charlie Baker’s environmental agencies have political and personal connections at the highest levels.”2
The political considerations of the Baker administration have influenced staffing decisions in other forms as well. Last year, a staffer in the EEA was reprimanded by a Baker loyalist, harassed, and ultimately fired simply because her fiancé planned on running against state Senator Donald Humason Jr. (R-Westfield).3
In light of this information, I respectfully request that you undertake a comprehensive audit of the EEA’s hiring practices, including all new, unposted positions, and make the results of said audit accessible to the public. Since the administration does not post resumes on the state’s website, I also request a full review of the qualifications of all new hires, including an analysis of the resumes of all new hires since January 2015.
As a candidate, Governor Baker himself proposed regular audits of state agency hiring practices by the Inspector General’s office,4 but there is no record of him ever making such a request once taking office. His administration’s rampant record of patronage in the EEA has clearly demonstrated that an independent review by your office is in order.
Chair, Massachusetts Democratic Party
11 Beacon St, Suite 410
Boston, MA 02108
1 Frank Phillips, After arrest, son of Polito supporters lands a job in the administration, Boston Globe, May 09, 2017, http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/05/09/after-arrest-son-polito-supporters-lands-administration-job/JaivWr7gvDst0rcXhXgPnL/story.html
2 Frank Phillips, Environmental hires have ties to highest levels of Baker administration, Boston Globe, May 24, 2017, https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/05/23/environmental-hires-have-ties-highest-levels-baker-administration/llNb9DttE7gct9TUJwRuZM/story.html
3Joe Battenfeld, Allegations dog Charlie Baker’s EEA, Boston Herald, September 22, 2016, http://www.bostonherald.com/news/columnists/joe_battenfeld/2016/09/battenfeld_allegations_dog_charlie_baker_s_eea
4 Frank Phillips, Candidate Baker proposed bold anti-patronage plan, Boston Globe, May 25, 2017, https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/05/25/candidate-baker-proposed-bold-anti-patronage-plan/7IX4W4IXSppaKohCjQeMRO/story.html