Hey all you One Party Massachusetts fans, have you heard the one about the Dem hack who plays his cards right and ends up with a cushy job for life? No, not your cousin, this OTHER Dem hack who plays his cards right and ends up with a cushy job for life!
In all seriousness, the latest wrinkle in our MA Dem-ocracy might be ugly enough to disturb even those who are true blue through-and-through…
Chris Speranzo, do-nothing State Rep. in Berkshire County is so incompetent, he nearly lost his seat to a Green-Rainbow Party candidate who spent a grand total of $3,074 on his campaign. Speranzo can’t even play his hack cards right, raising the hackles of half of the members of the Governor’s Council. While Speranzo had been a quiet shoe-in for the $110,000/year clerk magistrate position at the Central Berkshire District Court, the simple fact that Mark Miller ran against him last year has led to the slow unraveling of the quiet hack job… and now Governor Patrick and Lt. Gov. Murray are on the cusp of turning this thing into a hack-fest, even at this politically dangerous time when the dirty business of State House politics and Massachusetts corruption are landing people double-digit jail terms.
The good people of Pittsfield are steamed at Speranzo, who denied 3rd Berkshire voters a real campaign and tried to quietly leave them with a vacancy in the State House for his own benefit. But it’s the other people raising questions that has me thinking this could be the perfect example for preemptive hack-tion to resist the madness:
Mr. Speranzo’s lack of legal experience troubled several councilors at yesterday’s confirmation hearing, and while their concerns are valid, his qualifications are a lesser issue than how he got the nod for the position in the first place. Two assistant clerks who have been doing the job since the clerk magistrate left two years ago both applied for the job but were bypassed for Mr. Speranzo, who doesn’t have their experience. They, however, don’t have his political clout. The bypassing of the assistant clerks bothered a couple of the council members and the fact that the job was vacant for two years should bother taxpayers paying the $110,000 annual salary for a position that in the private sector would surely have been axed by now.
Criticism of Speranzo at his confirmation hearing was strikingly harsh:
Councilor Mary-Ellen Manning ripped the decision to keep his constituents in the dark.“You stole their votes. That’s what you did,’’ said Manning, a Salem Democrat. “Nobody thinks it’s offensive here to be a public servant. Anybody who uses public service and the cloak of public service for their own private gain, I do think is offensive. It was offensive to the voters.’’
Councilor Jennie Caissie, an Oxford Republican, cited Voltaire as she suggested that Speranzo lacked the qualifications to work as a clerk magistrate.
“There seems to be a glaring lack of experience here,’’ she said. “In your entire professional career, you’ve basically been a public employee. You’ve never received a paycheck that hasn’t come from the taxpayers of Massachusetts.’’
And now there’s this:
One of the four members of the Governor’s Council who opposed Rep. Christopher N. Speranzo’s clerk-magistrate nomination last week is questioning the Patrick administration’s decision to cancel a meeting originally set for Wednesday that would have featured a vote on the nominee.
Four of the eight council members have expressed opposition to Speranzo’s nomination, citing a variety of reasons and raising the possibility that Speranzo would need Lt. Gov. Tim Murray’s tie-breaking vote if the other four councilors support him.
In order for Murray to break a tie, Patrick needs to preside over the council. Patrick plans to attend a biotechnology convention in Washington D.C. Tuesday and to return Wednesday and aides said last week they want to ensure that Patrick is available to participate in the meeting, if needed.
In a letter to Patrick’s chief of staff Mo Cowan Monday, Governor’s Councilor Marilyn Devaney said she had learned Patrick would be at the State House Wednesday, noted the council has two hearings planned Wednesday on judicial nominees, and questioned the delay in the vote. “The Governor could preside over the Assembly on this day,” Devaney said in her letter.
The councilor also noted Secretary of State William Galvin has twice presided over Governor’s Council meetings when the governor and lieutenant governor were out of state. Another potential complication is the fact that Councilor Christopher Iannella is traveling out of the country. Iannella was not in attendance at Speranzo’s hearing and, according to an aide at his law firm, is not expected to return until late this week.
So even though 7 out of 8 councilors were present, the vote was postponed to stack things up for Speranzo’s confirmation. The great thing about this is that Murray and Patrick have to follow through with this bullshit in order to seal the deal. If people raise enough of a stink, all we need is one more member of the Governor’s Council to come to their senses, or for Patrick and Murray to back down.
Now’s the time to draw a line in the sand and resist hacks-a-chusetts Dem-ocracy.