2020 was a fantastically prosperous year … for hacks

You always learn something new when the annual state payroll comes out and today we learn … Gerard Leone Jr., former district attorney of Middlesex County.

Forgotten, but not gone — last year this hack grabbed $291,200 as “general counsel” at the University of Massachusetts.

He’s had his snout buried (for the second time) in the public trough since 2017, but did anybody know it?

When he resigned as district attorney of the state’s largest county in 2013, Leone went to a big downtown law firm, Nixon Peabody. Much hoopla.

Not so much hoopla two years later, in 2015, when he fled the white-shoe firm to become “vice president of people development,” whatever that is, at Consigli Construction Co.

And no hoopla whatsoever in 2017 when Leone was snatched off the waiver wire, I mean, recruited after a nationwide search, by his fellow former Middlesex County coat holder Marty Meehan, now the president of ZooMass.

If you look on the state comptroller’s payroll, Leone’s annual rate is listed as $302,848 a year, so I guess in 2020 he did tighten his belt, so to speak, just like his boss Marty, whose pay is listed on different state payrolls as between $584,748 and $682,270 – but hey, who’s counting?

I mention this only because this latest payroll shows, once again, that former Sen. John Edwards was right when he said that there are “two Americas.”

Public-sector America and the Dreaded Private Sector (DPS).

For public-sector America, also known as the hackerama, 2020 was yet another fantastically prosperous year. And most of them got to “work” from home – wink wink, nudge nudge.

According to the latest numbers, under the so-called leadership of Gov. Charlie Baker, 19,962 coat holders on the public payroll made over $100,000 last year. There were 879 earning over $200,000, and 116 making more than $300,000.

And behind those obscene salaries comes the pension — 80% of the top three years if you’ve got the years in, and you know they’ve all got the years in to max out the kiss in the mail.

As Thomas Jefferson said more than 200 years ago of the nascent federal bureaucracy: “Vacancies by death are few, by resignation never.”

Because on those rare occasions when someone does decide to leave, it seldom works out for the best. They often have to come crawling back to the hackerama. Exhibit A: Gerry Leone.

As they were making these big bucks in 2020, most of the state’s payroll Charlies were working “remotely,” as their voicemail messages always say. Meanwhile, the DPS was utterly ravaged by the insane, capricious dictates of someone who never once missed either a paycheck or a meal. That would be Charlie Baker, who’s making $200,355 a year.

The DPS got two months of the nation’s highest unemployment rate, not to mention the continuing highest nursing home death rate in the US and the third highest overall death rate among the 50 states.

And yet Baker et al. aren’t just feeding at the trough, they’re licking the plate.

Take UMass — please. The whole place was pretty much shut down for the last 9 or 10 months of the year. (The football coach, Walter Bell, only had four games this year — he now has a 1-15 record over two years to justify his $618,682.92-a-year salary.)

The 30 top-paying state jobs belong to UMass hirelings before you get to the chief medical examiner, Mindy Hull, at $395,624.90 a year. Then there are another 15 ZooMass Minutepersons before the next non-academic – Steve Poftak, the boss of the MBTA, at $345,322.81 a year.

Think about that one – according to their own statistics, passengers on the T’s commuter rail lines have dropped by 90%. On the subways, the T is down 60-75 percent.

Those numbers are like … Massachusetts restaurants. But Poftak hasn’t missed any paychecks, has he? When the T even hinted at layoffs, denunciations and recriminations were hurled indiscriminately. How dare they?

Speaking of which, it’s January. When do the promised Massport layoffs begin? What are the chances of any of Massport’s legions of six-figure hacks ever being separated from the trough?

There are three chances of hack layoffs at Massport: Slim, fat and none.

These salaries are almost enough to make you forget the pay raises the hacks in the Legislature just scored. Almost.

After their latest raises, and increases in expenses, not to mention their stipends, the least any state senator is making is $103,846 a year.

That includes $70,537 salary, at least $17,044 for expenses (formerly per diems, source of so many scandals) and a minimum bonus of $16,245 for their positions in leadership.

Incidentally, 40 of 40 state senators are in “leadership” positions. Every last one of them.

Hey, It beats working. It beats being vice president of people development. Just ask Gerry Leone.

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