So, the Globe’s Frank Phillips reports that Gov. Patrick is thinking of trading legislative pay for control of rogue state agencies like Massport and the ‘Pike. Mark Bail has held forth already, as has Dan Dunn. I’ll add some observations:
The article clearly implies that Patrick is planning to bribe state legislators with pay raises to get what he wants. If that’s the case, that’s a bad way to negotiate — as Keller says, “the governor is hopelessly naïve if he thinks this is the way to govern.”
… And that’s if it’s actually true.
I hate to get all ad-hominem, but this is the same Frank Phillips of Killer Coke fame — in other words, someone who has a history of putting Patrick in the worst possible light on the flimsiest of evidence. And indeed, look at how qualified his language is here — is there really a smoking gun anywhere? (My emphasis here.)
No agreement has been struck, but in behind-the-scenes conversations, sources said, Patrick has signaled that he may be willing to take the inevitable public criticism about the pay raises, but he wants significant payback: broad cooperation on his proposals to overhaul the state’s quasi-public authorities and boards.
OK, keep your scorecards handy: No agreement yet … still in negotiation … anonymous “sources.”
Is there a there, there, yet? Let’s ask someone who’s “aware of the deal”:
“That’s a quid pro quo?” asked one lawmaker who is aware of the proposed deal.
You asking me? Hey legislator X, aren’t you the one who’s supposed to know something about this? Guess not.
And let’s watch the talking points spin off like mud off of a tire:
Patrick, on the other hand, is facing the potential political consequences of granting a legislative pay hike, an issue that often creates a public furor and can politically damage a governor — especially at a time when the state is facing a budget deficit of more than $1 billion.
Is that a threat? And if he saves us $80,000 that’ll be a big gesture, right? Just sayin’.
The negotiations provide a glimpse into the evolving relationship between legislative leaders and the new Democratic governor. One consequence that Patrick’s advisers must consider is whether such a deal would fan public fears that one-party rule on Beacon Hill — after 16 years of Republican leadership in the corner office — could lead to uncontrolled spending.
The “public fears” were so pervasive that the fretful electorate gave Patrick a razor-thin 21-point victory in November — all while returning the usual gang of Dems to the customary supermajority status. Hrmmm …
For now, Patrick and legislative leaders are at an impasse.
… “There are absolutely no plans to increase stipends for chairmen,” said Kimberly Haberlin, DiMasi’s spokeswoman.
Wow, sounds like this thing is really barrelling forward. Can’t stop it now.
Where’s the beef, Frank?