Another nationwide search!
Isn’t it amazing how sometimes in the hackerama Mr. Big searches high and low for the, uh, best-qualified person. And in the end it turns out that he or she is right under Mr. Big’s red tomato nose – already on the payroll, making the six-figure salary, still recuperating from the big Bunker Hill Day time.
And thus it’s happened once again at the Massachusetts Port Authority, where after a lengthy, phony-baloney closed-door process involving more than 100 alleged candidates, the two finalists for the plum $300,000 hack job are both erstwhile proteges of the junior senator from Utah, Willard Mitt Romney.
There’s Lisa Wieland, now making $295,000 on the Massport payroll, one-time employee of Mitt at Bain Capital.
And then there’s Brian Golden, military vet and former nominal Democrat state rep from Allston, brought into the Romney administration after almost getting booted out of the state Democrat party for endorsing George W. Bush for president in 2000.
Wieland’s become a sort of Massport lifer, while Golden has made his bones at City Hall, first with the late Mumbles Menino, but mostly as a Marty Walsh guy. They served in the legislature together 20 years ago, Irish guys in a changing city, along with Gene O’Flaherty from Charlestown.
Now the city’s changed even more. It’s a good time for a native harp to be getting out of city politics, especially from the successor agency to the Boston Redevelopment Authority. It’s a scheming time at City Hall, it always is at the BRA or whatever they’re calling it and now more so than ever. Sooner or later, in an agency full of schemers, someone always has to take the fall for some Mr. Big. And Brian, being the son of a Boston cop, knows that better than most.
It’s a propitious time to be moving up or out.
According to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, Golden takes care of pols like himself – his benefactor Marty Walsh of course, as well as Jerry McDermott, the Allston city councilor-turned-Norfolk sheriff. He gives generously to city councilor-types like Steve Murphy, Frank Baker and Eddie Flynn, ex-state rep Vinny Ciampa from Somerville, West Roxbury state senator Mike Rush, Worcester DA Joe Early Jr. – you get the picture.
It’s funny how the Massport job comes down to, once again, basically, two Republicans. It’s always been the local GOP’s preferred agency, even more so than a state judgeship.
Think of the Republicans who have been interred at Massport over the decades – Steve Tocco, Peter Blute, Jane Swift, even Eddie King, like Golden a nominal city Democrat who after his one-term governorship switched parties.
Oh course, the local Democrat hacks have always used Massport as their own hiring hall – in an April column, we pointed out all the payroll patriots sent over to the airport the likes of Eastie-Chelsea pols Bob Travaglini and Tom Birmingham, plus assorted local-yokel Boston city councilors, not to mention Teamster Local 25 types who end up on the board.
But Massport remains mainly a Republican hackerama – remember the late Joe Moakley complaining about the hiring of Welducci coatholder Ginny Buckingham, dismissing her as “a girl in the office.” (He was right, of course, but hey, they needed somebody to take the fall after 9/11, and her husband got a nice consolation prize, a lifetime seat on the SJC.)
I suppose the acting CEO, John Prackevicius, wanted the job, but the fact is, he’s just not a made man in the traditional Massport sense. Like Tom Hagen in the Godfather, he wasn’t a wartime consigliere, and for both Charlie Baker and even more so for Marty Walsh at City Hall, the dark clouds of political war are gathering.
I have no inside line on which one prevails. If the mayor and the governor are really on the outs over the T fiasco, maybe it goes to Golden. On the other hand, if it comes down to a gender battle, these days around here the woman always wins, unless the woman is Marsha Coakley. (As both Marty and Tall Deval know.)
But one thing ever, never changes at Massport. The winner will be a hack.