Affordable housing under 40B: No oversight, no accountability, big profits for private business:
Inspector General Gregory W. Sullivan’s staff has spent the past year examining records from state offices and town halls and financial statements from developers that have built under the state’s Chapter 40B law. The law exempts developers from local zoning if they set aside at least 20 percent of the housing units for low- or moderate-income residents.
The developers are required to limit their profits from the projects to 20 percent. But Sullivan said developers are finding ways to circumvent that cap, including engaging in insider land deals, hiring contractors that are connected to them, inflating expenses, or using other “accounting fictions.”
“For certain developers, 40B has been a pig fest,” Sullivan said in an interview Friday. “The problem extends throughout Massachusetts, everywhere that there are 40B developments.”
All things being equal, I’m pro-40B … but who gets the blame for this? Who’s supposed to be in charge? Gosh, it’s just so vague, and who can know, right? Sound familiar?
And then there’s Massport:
Nearly two dozen managers at the Massachusetts Port Authority have unrestricted personal use of company cars, and some have never reimbursed the agency for using the vehicles outside of work.
…Massport is an independent agency funded by tolls and fees and not affected by state regulations that prohibit state vehicles from being used for any purpose other than official business. The federal government also prohibits employees from using government-issued vehicles for personal use.
Isn’t that fascinating — another “independent agency”, another rogue state within the state. And who’s supposed to be running this thing again? Do we have an organizational chart — or web, or fractal graph — for Massport?
If you don’t know whom to blame, you don’t get accountability. If no one fears for his job if he gets embarassed, then you can expect this kind of thing.
So here’s the strategy: Right now, and going forward: Blame the governor first. Yes, even if Patrick wins. The buck’s got to stop somewhere — how about at the top? Hold the governor accountable — no excuses, no blame-transferral, no “gosh golly, I really tried but couldn’t get the legislature to play nice.” Just blame the governor, let him or her feel the heat and hopefully get something done.
Mitt, over to you. Mitt? Hello?