Nauseating

It really makes me physically nauseous to read stuff like this:

Her title was chief of staff, but she had no staff and reported to no one. That did not prevent Carol Aloisi from collecting a $60,000 State House salary for six months, until a state representative found her – literally – sitting in his new office and put her to work.

Aloisi, the sister of state Transportation Secretary James Aloisi Jr., was assigned in August by House leaders to the onetime office of former state representative Rachel Kaprielian months after Kaprielian had vacated her post to head up the state Registry of Motor Vehicles.

The idea that Jim Aloisi (pre- Sec. of Transportation) had nothing to do with this would really stretch credibility, wouldn't it? Between this and Mr. Aloisi's own impolitic behavior, maybe the idea of hiring a Big Dig Culture dude to dismantle the Big Dig Culture hasn't really worked out so well just yet. The Patrick administration's political skills and approaches need to have a  thorough evaluation.

As for DiMasi — or whomever put Ms. Aloisi in her “job” — good riddance.

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53 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Patrick has political skills? n/t

  2. And do you wonder

    why Howie Carr has the ratings he does?  Reform before revenue sounds like a reasonable plan to me as a taxpayer...

  3. Remember that

    "Does reform really matter" post a few days ago?

    Nah, reform doesn't really matter . . .

  4. No More

    Thanks for the post Charley; I feel the same way. Sick

    The governor has lost me, a liberal democratic supporter, and I'm sure a few like me. It is not just the Progressive/Hack alliance as the Herald's Jay Fitzgerald has correctly identified it. It's the regressive tax on the poor that they like to call casino gaming. It's the GIC and the potential loss of collective bargaining. It's the lies. It's the tone deafness during a fiscal crisis when we as citizens have been asked for more and these clowns can only take more.

    I'm done with these people. Yes Mr. Rubin that means you.

    • Understood

      I hear your frustration, particularly about casinos and GIC.  But to be fair, the Governor has had a number of successes on "liberal democratic" issues as well.  

      We have a good team in the Governor's office.  They are dedicated, work long hours, and come to work to make a difference.  But we don't get everything right, and when we don't, it often ends up on the front page of the newspaper or on TV.   Ultimately, as the Governor's Chief of Staff, it is my responsibility when things go wrong.  But I can guarantee you we understand that people are hurting in this economy and we are trying to do what we can to help.

  5. The hits just keep on coming

    The soon-to-be-defunct Turnpike Authority, which is poised to foist painful toll hikes on motorists, has quietly put at least two new high-priced staffers on its payroll - both of them retreads from the state transportation department, the Herald has learned.

    The two staff members were shuffled over from the executive office of transportation within the last three months, even as administration officials were telling lawmakers the Pike was in desperate need of cash.

    "I find no excuse whatsoever to be hiring at the Pike unless there is a justified emergency," said Sen. Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford). "The last thing we should do is burden this agency with more expenses."

    http://www.bostonherald.com/ne...

  6. It would be great ...

    ... if Patrick used this as an excuse to rethink (i.e., dump) Aloisi.  But I'm not real hopeful because I have it on good authority that Deval will be appointing John Martorano to run the state police if/when that spot opens up.

  7. Isn't the entire MA state government infected with this same disease?

    I'm positive you could operate all aspects of the Massachusetts government with one-third fewer employees with no noticeable affect on basic services or operations.  This includes Masspork, the MBTA, the Turnpike, etc., in addition to the all Mass.gov departments.

    I'd be willing to trade off extended unemployment benefits for the savings in salaries, benefits, and pensions.

    • I don't get it

      I'm sure there are a few instances of people like Ms. Aliosi working in state government. Just like there are people in private industry who employ their friends and family members without being concerned about "the best candidate for the job" or whatever. This happens everywhere, particularly when no one is watching.

      That doesn't mean we shouldn't root it out where it exists, but the presence of something like this doesn't mean we should eliminate the income tax, or even not raise the gas tax, because eliminating one $60k/year job (or even 100 of them) isn't going to solve the budget gap.

      However, I just don't get how you translate this into  "you could operate all aspects of the Massachusetts government with one-third fewer employees with no noticeable affect on basic services or operations". How did you form that opinion?

      Are you claiming that 1/3 of the people on the state payroll are in "no work" positions such as Ms. Aliosi? If so, then the detective skills of Republicans must really, really suck because no one seems to be able to find them.

      Or are you claiming that people could work 1/3 harder? That seems awfully objective.

      Howie Carr was lamenting on the radio yesterday that "zero" toll-takers have been laid off from the turnpike. Problem is, he wasn't alleging that the service on the Pike is too good, he just wants some bodies out of there, regardless of the impact.

      Does anyone have any instances of tollbooths where there are way more toll takers than traffic requires? That should be easy to spot, right?

      Seems like every time I go through a toll booth (certain ones), there are always a few closed lanes but there is a backup of traffic. So that sounds like "too few" toll takers, not too many.

      That kind of stuff doesn't seem to be comprehensible by certain groups of people in this state. They only think on one-dimension, not many.

  8. Jumping to conclusions here

    I have no idea whether Carol Aloisi earned her pay, but I want to note three things.  First, Carol has had her own career as a democratic party activist and Beacon Hill staffer, quite independent of her brother.  When I first became involved in local political stuff, I heard of her before I heard of her brother Jim.  Seems to me this is more like Barney Frank and Ann Lewis than the typical "no work" situation. Second, I don't understand why everyone is jumping to the conclusion that Jim Aloisi is involved in this.  According to the Globe story, she got the assignment months before he was slated to get the transportation job, and she was put back to work when he was Secretary of Transportation.  That seems backwards and assumes that she had no contacts of her own (see point 1).  Third, the idea of assigning Aloisi to Rep. Kaprelian's office is not so crazy.  Although a seat is vacant, there are still constituent needs and I believe the norm is to retain one staffer to handle that.  Of course, that doesn't mean it should have been full-time, or a person of her level, or that she was actually working (there are references in the Globe piece about her taking time off because of a back problem).  I know none of that.  (And, just to be clear, I know of Jim and I've had a few  democratic party dealings with Carol over the years, but I'm not a friend of either.)

  9. Holy cow

    Deval's new best buddy Aloisi gets his sister a patronage job and you blame DiMasi?  I feel like I'm reading the Globe.  Deval brought Aloisi back from the political dead and slid him back into the hackocracy.  Aloisi did what a hack does, and the guv gave him the chance.

    sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
    • According to the article

      Ms. Aloisi has been in the State House for years. You really think the Governor has the sway with the legislature to get them to keep someone on payroll because he wants them to? It's not like Deval and DiMasi were known for doing favors for each other.  

      • Yes

        "You really think the Governor has the sway with the legislature to get them to keep someone on payroll because he wants them to? It's not like Deval and DiMasi were known for doing favors for each other."

        True, but they weren't mortal enemies, either.  I'd be shocked if there aren't any DiMasi sinecures on obscure boards appointed by the governor.

        sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
    • What job is this?

      I seem to be missing something.  Was she the Chief of Staff to the office of Rep. Kaprelian?  If so how would the Governor have anything to do with her appointment?

      • Rep. Kaprielian says she had nothing to do with it

        I was under the impression that one of her old staffers was taking care of constituent services after she left, but I'll ask around and see if that's what happened.

      • I know who is responsible!

        You and me. We are the ones getting hosed.

    • Your timing's off, isn't it?

      Ms. Aloisi got her job well before Mr. Aloisi became SecTrans.  Sure, Mr. Aloisi was a Deval backer before that, but it seems a stretch to think that he had that kind of sway at the time, doesn't it?  As others have noted, Ms. Aloisi had plenty of political friends and clout on her own, regardless of her brother.

  10. pathetic

    The only thing more pathetic than the apologists for waste, fraud, corruption, nepotism, hackery, thievery, etc. is the GOPs inability to capitalize on the Democrats  waste, fraud, corruption, nepotism, hackery, thievery, etc.  

    • That's because

      The GOP isn't a solution . . . it's not meant to be.  The GOP and the Democratic Party are the exact same animal.  They just put on a WWF-style battle royale every election cycle to perpetuate the stranglehold they both have on the government in this state and in this nation.

      People are far too scared to embrace real reform.

      • I'll bite

        what exactly is "real reform"?

        • Smaller, smarter, more effective, more efficient government

          I.e., the very thing that scares the living hell out of Democrats and Republicans alike.

          • And also

            unicorns who poop gumdrops and snowflakes which smooth wrinkles and chili cheese fries with negative calories and Boston drivers who only honk to warn of imminent danger.

            And a chicken in every pot and a pony for every little girl.

            • Childish

               . . . wow.

              • But funny... :)

              • Point being that

                you can think it up, but that doesn't make it real. Next thing you'll say is that everyone would just try a little harder...

                Is that less childish? I like stomv's answer better than mine.

                • The $quot;funny$quot; part, however, is that

                  the only people standing in the way of making government smaller, smarter, more effective, and more efficient are all of you.  Honestly.  Laugh it off all you want, and dismiss the notion outright as pie in the sky, but you're the same sort of people who were skewing ambivalent/Tory in 1765.  

                  Why even bother talking about reform at all if you don't think there's a solution?  This is a man-made problem; it can be solved by men.  All it takes is intestinal fortitude.

                  • All it takes?

                    Just intestinal fortitude, eh?  So it doesn't take, for example, a plan?  A clear, specific list of tasks, outcomes, and the like?

                    Without details, you're "real reform" is as real as my gumdrop dropping unicorn.

                    • Of course it takes a $quot;plan$quot;

                      But why bother presenting it to the likes of you, who dismisses the whole concept of smaller, smarter, more effective, and more efficient government outright?  

                      Your position, and the position of most progressives, seems to be this:  that the current level of services provided by the government is sacrosanct.  No, scratch that:  the current level of services provided by the government is a baseline---i.e., it should be increased wherever and whenever possible.  And to pay for these services, you continually search for new sources of revenue, which is a less offensive way of saying sticking it to the taxpayer even more.

                      Some day, you're going to wise up to the notion that the taxpayer can't pay anymore.  There is no reasonable way to fund your pie-in-the-sky progressive ideas without bankrupting this state's taxpayers.  

                      Why do you think Massachusetts is losing population?  You don't think this plays into it at all?

                    • False conservative debate

                      What I hear from conservatives is that they don't want to discuss level of services -- they want to just reduce the money available to governments without even talking about services. "Starve the beast" -- as if that was the most efficient way to find efficiencies.

                      If you're actually willing to talk about services when it comes to reducing taxes, then I think you will find plenty of people ready to talk.

                      This gas tax issue is a perfect example. The governor put forth a plan which outlined exactly what the money would be used for, and why it was needed. What response did he get back? People screaming "I don't want to pay". They weren't screaming "I don't want to improve the roads and bridges", or "I don't want to stop the practice of using bonds to pay employee salaries".  

                    • I can't speak for $quot;what you've heard$quot; from conservatives

                      But I highly doubt they just want to reduce government revenue without talking about the appropriate level of government services.  Even conservatives agree that government is necessary, and certain essential services are best performed by government agencies.  The old standbys, for instance:  police, fire, roads.  Where conservatives differ from liberals is which government services are essential, and which are non-essential.

                      RE: the gas tax . . . I think you're deceiving yourself.  People scream "I don't want to pay" for very good reasons.  (1)  People can't afford to pay.  If you haven't noticed, we're in a pretty severe recession.  Some day progressives may wise up to the fact that they can't get blood from a stone, but I doubt it will happen in my lifetime.  (2)  [and this is a big one] People do not trust the government, especially Deval Patrick, whose political tin ear is becoming legendary.  It doesn't matter if he "tells us" exactly why a tax is needed and how it's going to be spent---the taxpayers don't believe him.  Why?  Because we can see, with our very own eyes, the tremendous waste and government mismanagement in play here.  Why, as a taxpayer, should my hard-earned dollars go to support this incredible system of waste and mis-management, when I need my hard-earned dollars just to keep my head above water?  I need to take care of the needs of my own household before I can consider shouldering the burdens of the entire Commonwealth, don't I?

                    • Rarely specific

                      Conservatives rarely speak of what services they would like to reduce. They speak in terms of the mythical "fraud, waste, and abuse" -- without even identifying very much of it.

                      I have found conservatives to overly project on that matter. A picture of a city worker leaning on his shovel becomes "reason to not trust the government" -- as if the government is some imposing force, instead of a democratically elected body.

                      Why not take the first step in reply to Governor Patrick's gas tax proposal and either find another way to fund transportation services, or tell us what we should not be doing? Get specific.

                    • To both your points:

                      be in the details, but I'm having a hard time finding them in Old Scratch's posts.

                      His view of the government is sort of like the introduction to The Six Million Dollar Man:

                      Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better. Faster.  Stronger.

                      Now, as a kid, I never questioned what this technology was. Most people, right and left, would agree that it would be wonderful to be bionic and have an ethical, effective government. But question is begged, what's the technology to do it?

                      Lee Majors's character also suffered from amnesia. Having forgotten 16 years of Republican governors, and 8 years of The Worst Presidency Ever, memory problems are also Old Scratch seems to share.

                      Typical conservatism: picture the destination, forget about the itinerary.

                    • A whole row of straw men, old scratch!

                      First, if it is true that the proposed gas tax increase is barely keeping up with inflation, and would cost on average $8.00 a month, that increase is hardly the voracious monster you love to hate.

                      Second, are your REALLY saying only police and fire, and let the bridges and dams fall down?  REALLY?

                      Frankly, you repeat yourself over and over and over without adding any substance.  I have no idea whether I would pass a progressive litmus test - or yours - but I do not care one way or the other.

                      As one of the wealthiest states in the wealthiest nation the reality that a local motel has 75 families, one to a room, with more than 150 children between them nauseates me.

                      As to what government is "supposed to do" here is a first pass at a basic list:

                      1.  Ensure a free, comprehensive education that includes at a minimum the ability to read and reason, history, training in participatory democracy and the work ethic, and responsibility without descending to a one-size-fits all factory model of education.

                      2.  Ensure safe infrastructure, which includes roads, communications, efficient basic healthcare, bridges, water, power, and sufficient affordable housing including supportive housing for those with handicaps and disabilities of all varieties so that our population is housed, children are secure, and the waste ensueing from homelessness is eliminated, rather than pouring money into the black holes of the incarceration industry, the shelter industry, the victim industry, the school-to-prison pipeline, and the child welfare/foster care/adoption industries.

                      3.  Ensure competent governance, which includes the absence of corruption, transparency, civic engagement through a strong FOIA law that does not exempt government, and a strong open meeting law that does not exempt government.

                      4.  Creation and maintenance of long range planning on a statewide basis using multi-modal methods of analysis.

                      Just for starters.  A nation or state that does not invest in its present ensures for itself a future as a backwater; investment in true  infrastructure requires collective action, not rugged individualism based on "I got mine, who cares about the next guy."

                    • waste and mismanagement

                      Why?  Because we can see, with our very own eyes, the tremendous waste and government mismanagement in play here.  Why, as a taxpayer, should my hard-earned dollars go to support this incredible system of waste and mis-management, when I need my hard-earned dollars just to keep my head above water?

                      Are we going to give up on fixing roads and bridges (not to mention, the mentally ill, developmentally disabled, children of abused families, education reform, low wage workers and other market failures) because there are some friends of politicians with no show jobs?

                      No governor, Democrat or Republican, has been able to eliminate all waste and mis-management.  But that doesn't mean we don't need government.

                    • Why bother?

                      But why bother presenting it to the likes of you, who dismisses the whole concept of smaller, smarter, more effective, and more efficient government outright?

                      Why bother?  Because when you write that

                      real reform ... [is] Smaller, smarter, more effective, more efficient government

                      without a plan, you're just projecting arbitrary desires without any evidence that what you wish for even exists, no less can be attained -- just like gumdrop producing unicorns.  If you've got productive suggestions on how to achieve a government which accomplishes more with less cost, it's your patriotic duty to tell us how.  We'd love to hear your plan and, if it's a good plan, I'm sure it will bubble up.

                      It's not that "People are far too scared to embrace real reform" -- it's that we don't know how to do what you think is possible.  So, tell us how.

                      We're all ears -- but be prepared to back up your claims with evidence, and be prepared to defend your ideas against the gauntlet of honest debate.

  11. Another thing...

    There are so many obvious things to be disgusted about with this story, but why is the Speaker assigning staff to individual legislators?  Shouldn't they each get to make their own staffing decisions?

    Coakley-Rivera, who went without a chief of staff for months until DiMasi assigned her a new one in late January, said she was "extremely disappointed" in Aloisi's performance during her last year.
  12. Alarm, urgency, speed

    Reading the comments, it does sound as if something could be amiss, quite amiss even. However, the nepotism thing looks like a red herring: Ms. Aloisi really does have a career of her own independent of her brother's.

    What I find disturbing is the questionable employment history the Globe article highlights in conjunction with her getting a bossless job. It sounds like an invitation to abuse. So, please someone investigate this.

    However, right now there's a bit more "seeming" than "knowing". Certainly, I want that to change soon, but until then can we wait until we know whether she actually abused this position? Having found one piece of this is a red herring, we might want to be careful in our conclusions.

    • Good point. When a legislator leaves mid term, there needs to be caretaker staff

      However, I personally think there should be some form of financial disincentive for legislators to leave in mid-term and cause a need for caretaker staff and special elections.  Those special elections were not just expensive for my town of Arlington, but divisive and we went without representation for far too long.

      Responsible legislators, like Rep. Anne Paulsen or Sen. Ed. Augustus announce they will not run for re-election and serve out their terms.  There is something unseemly, even immoral in my eyes in running for reelection only to step away shortly after being elected, or even in the middle of a term.

  13. Charlie - THIS post needs a poll, seriously -

    ..and it IS nauseating.  Mark 4:22 comes to mind, the scripture that says, "There is nothing hidden save it shall be revealed."

  14. What I Take From This

    I'll make the prediction now, though I'd (almost) gladly hope to be wrong:

    Deval Patrick will not see another term as governor.

    Aloisi was Patrick's attempt at the realpolitik. He wasn't getting things done with Bernard Cohen so he switched to someone he thought might be able to play politics. Whether or not this turns out to be a good organizational move, it was a loser for politically: reformers don't hire hacks.

    Just exactly what will the governor run on? Vote for me! I'm well-intentioned, but ineffectual. If his work is having this effect on us, imagine the effect it will have on the general population.

    I'm disgusted with the governor's political incompetence. It needs to be said. And if that means MFW gives me a 4 or a 3 in the comments, so be it. I invested time and effort in the guy, and he's at best irrelevant.

    • Why not?

      Who else are going to vote for?  Seriously?

      Tim Cahill is the closest thing to a leader of an opposition in this state, and his big idea is to get people addicted to gambling.

      Charlie Baker is the CEO of an HMO.  No, wait, think about this -- people hate their HMO.  Short of "manager from AIG", this is the worst thing to have on a resume while running for public office.

      Jim Ogonowski can't count.

      Chris Gabrieli is out of gas.

      Christy Mihos is entertaining, but too many scary ideas.

      Seriously -- who?  Deval wins by default.

      sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
      • I'll probably vote for Patrick again.

        But I'm hardly the typical voter. I think he's in deep trouble.

        • He won't cruise

          Especially with Axelrod et al in the White House.  And it'll be good to have him think over some of his..."policies".  But he still wins by default in my book.

          sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
  15. I meant $quot;if$quot;

    everyone tried a little harder...

  16. Deval wins by default?

    Huh?  Remember 1990 when Irv Wall the bible salesman raised a total of $2,000 and beat Incumbent State Senator and Taunton legend Ted Alexio?  The voters of this state are good and pissed right now.  Maybe things cool off, but right now Bob Gamere might give Deval a run for his money.  

    • Why not Baker?

      I've read comments about Baker that lead me to believe he is viewed as a criminal because he runs an HMO. The guy is bright, socially moderate, fiscally responsible, and profoundly electible. Baker v. Deval? I like Baker by a lot particularly given how pissed people are.

      Sorry progressives!

      • What would Mitt do? What *did* Mitt do?

        Seriously, if Mitt Romney was still in charge of this state, do you think that he would have handled the budget reductions the same way Deval Patrick did?

        If Mitt was in charge I firmly believe that we would have seen even deeper state aid cuts (no dipping into the rainy day fund), we would not even be thinking about finding other ways to get cities and towns revenue (such as removing the telephone pole exemption and raising the meal tax). We would not be considering raising any gas tax or tolls -- instead we'd just cut more local aid.

        Republican ideas are usually very simplistic -- cut taxes, cut services. We elected Deval Patrick because we were sick of that.

        It isn't Deval Patrick's fault that revenues absolutely tanked, is it? And for those who said we shouldn't have banked on capital gains revenue -- well, Mitt did it too. He was just lucky enough to not be here when it all fell apart.

        There is a lot of anti-tax hysteria out there now. But face the facts -- most of them are completely simplistic -- people are only answering the question "do you want to pay more taxes" without the corollary of "what services do you want to eliminate". It makes for good press, but that's a horrible way to govern.

        And finally, what exactly did Mitt do his final couple of years in office? Not much -- he jetted around the country and made fun of this state. I get the feeling that Republicans don't even really like this state -- referring to it as the "people's republic" etc., complaining not about specific things but about liberals in general. Why should we elect someone like that?

        • Don't lose site of the big picture

          Agreed - if the Republicans were in it would be all about how much to cut.  There would be no discussions of new revenues.

          Deval's major contribution has been to turn the political tide in favor of finding new revenue and governmental solutions to problems.  The fact that this is still on the table despite the biggest economic crisis in years is an accomplishment.

          But his inability to separate himself from the Beacon Hill culture has caused him a serious problem.  I wish there was a more effective progressive on the horizon. But bottom line we can't go back to what we had for the previous 16 years.

      • Just because you don't see it

        Doesn't mean nobody else will.  Fairly or not, Baker's job is going to be a major obstacle for him.  He starts out by losing the vote of anybody who's gotten p***ed at their HMO, especially if it's his.  Imagine the town hall meetings when people bring up when they were denied a test or coverage.  Uncomfortable moments ahead for the latest captain of the Titanic...

        sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM

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