These past few months, life in the Dreaded Private Sector has been positively Hobbesian — solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.
Just ask the 1,144,983 residents who have lost their jobs here in the police state of Maskachusetts.
But if you are a hack, with your snout buried in the public trough, the Panic of 2020 has been a golden age. These are the good old days.
For five months now, huge numbers of payroll patriots have basically been on vacation — paid vacation. Oh sure, they’re all “working” from home, wink wink nudge nudge.
In the DPS, whenever revenues tank, people get laid off, fired, furloughed, whatever euphemism you want to use. They all mean the same thing — unemployment. No job. And that means no money.
Destitution. Foreclosures. Bankruptcy.
Not like at, say, the Massachusetts Port Authority, or the Mass. Convention Center Authority.
Massport is the crown jewel of the hackerama, along with UMass and the state judiciary. When you get a job there, you’ve died and gone to heaven. You’re forgotten but not gone.
The average Massport hack makes $101,000 a year.
So now it turns out that Massport’s budget has collapsed, from $907 million to $600 million. So I wondered, has anybody’s niece or nephew or pal taken one for the team?
Last March, as the Hacks’ Great Vacation of 2020 was starting, they handed themselves yet another round of huge pay increases. I wrote a column about some of the most connected at Massport, so this week I decided to check back to see if any of the Massport hacks I had mentioned last winter had been laid off, like, say, the driver at your local pizza shop.
I called Massport and found out that only one person I mentioned in that March column has been separated from the payroll, and he retired. That would be Lou Scapicchio, cousin of ex-Boston City Councilor Paul Scapicchio. Lou was making $106,958.35 a year.
If you have a real job, you undoubtedly know people you used to work with who are not around anymore. Anybody who was at all marginal in the DPS has long since been whacked.
But at Massport, they have laid off neither the “deputy director state affairs & community affairs,” who makes $130,000 a year, nor the “deputy director community relations & federal affairs,” who collects $129,375 a year.
The former is a second-generation Southie hack named Tom Butler Jr., while the other guy, the one scraping by at $129,375, is Anthony Guerriero. He used to be a coat holder for Tom Birmingham, a former Senate president who last won an election in 2000.
Surely both Butler and Guerriero have been awfully busy these past five months, as Logan Airport has basically become a ghost town.
I got this no-layoffs information from the Massport flack, Jennifer Mehigan, who used to work at City Hall for the late Mayor Mumbles Menino. She makes $170,335.
Massport is like a perpetual reunion for Mumbles’ erstwhile minions. His speechwriter was Reed Passafaro. He’s still on the Massport dole for $196,154 a year, along with ex-Mumbles hack John Affuso ($152,736).
Presiding over all these paid vacations is Lisa Weiland, a former Mitt Romney hack who is paid $360,000 after succeeding the interim boss, John Pranckevicius, who of course wasn’t let go as he would have been in the DPS. He now makes $311,825 a year, which is less than the director of aviation, Ed Freni, who makes $357,000, and someone named Houssam Sleiman who makes $325,000 a year.
There’s even a Carr, Gordon Carr, no relation, making $172,584 a year as “deputy director, real estate strategy & policy.” His strategy was to give $3,250 to Gov. Charlie Parker and Pay to Play Polito. The strategy worked!
Then there’s the MA Convention Center Authority. They’ve had some layoffs of part-timers and “casual employees,” which is how they cut their spending by $8.5 million.
This was told to me by Nate Little, the former executive director of the GOP state committee. The last time I wrote about the MCCA hackerama he was making $136,185 a year.
“I got a raise,” he was saying. “I’m making $149,000 now.”
You see, they always whack the enlisted men, but never the officers. Those still interred on the payroll of the authority that handles conventions, of which there haven’t been any since March:
Bobby O’Shea, failed Southie state rep candidate, now “community liaison” for $73,142, and another Southie payroll Charlie, Arthur Fritch III. He makes $86,585 as “SR Event Mgr” at a venue that hasn’t had an event since March that wasn’t a field hospital.
All these gaudy public-sector salaries in the state with the worst unemployment rate in the nation, and the third highest death rate.
Remember, we’re all in this together. Some of us get to go broke, and some of us get to sit home and make six-figure salaries for doing nothing.
It’s the hackerama.