A break from MA-05 madness … I can't say I'm terribly surprised by this:
Governor Deval Patrick, determined to exert control over the University of Massachusetts system, is undaunted by his failed bid last month to remove UMass board chairman Stephen P. Tocco and is still planning his ouster, according to administration officials.
Patrick aides have been testing sentiment among UMass trustees and said they expect the governor to have sufficient support to remove Tocco in a matter of months.
Patrick was publicly stung when his allies on the board could not muster enough votes last month to force out the influential Tocco, who is an appointee of Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, but has strong ties to Democratic leaders [like my US Rep. Ed Markey].
Remember that Tocco had something of a major role in the goofiness that led to UMass Amherst Chancellor John Lombardi leaving for stickier climes at LSU. We didn't heard much from the Governor during all that — perhaps Patrick felt it would be wise to keep his hands out of that particular tank of pirhanas. But it certainly didn't reflect well on UMass President Jack Wilson, or Tocco. I can't imagine Patrick was too amused by the whole thing.
And let's also remember that for all his cross-party friendships and connections, Tocco is head of one of the most powerful lobby shops in the Commonwealth. Is that really the guy you want as chair of the UMass board — someone whom you really want to have a noble, Big Picture vision for the system? Someone who can administrate fairly and impartially? Are those qualities lobbyists are known for? Should a lobbyist be head of our university system? Just askin'.
Tocco should take the hint and depart as gracefully as he can. And Patrick should appoint someone with a sterling, visionary, incorruptible reputation from well outside of the political sphere.