Once you go hack, you never go back.
That’s the lesson of the new Massport payroll – aren’t you sorry now you didn’t start sucking up to some shady politician way back when, because now you too could be grabbing a six-figure salary with no heavy lifting, behind which comes the 80 percent pension?
Today we study the extinguished careers of even more Massport payroll patriots, most of whom have had their snouts buried in the public trough for most of their lives.
Yesterday I asked Massport a number of questions about more than a dozen of their, ahem, public servants. Out of professional courtesy, I suppose, Massport refused to answer any of my questions about their hack backgrounds, instead responding:
“It makes sense that some employees have previous state or local government experience.”
It does make sense, dollars and cents. Mostly dollars, lots and lots of them.
On Monday, the agency’s hack boss John Pranckevicius was asked about the endless stream of hacks going onto the Massport payroll from City Hall and the State House.
“It’s categorically false,” he said, “that there’s a pipeline into Massport.”
Really? Check out the social media of a guy named Hodari Cali. He doesn’t seem to be on the Massport payroll right now, but until 2017 he listed himself as “director of community affairs” for Gov. Charlie Baker, after which he became “senior administrator diversity/inclusion and compliance” at Massport. But there’s no pipeline.
You know the old saying, forgotten but not gone. A lot of these hacks used to work for pols hardly anyone can even remember anymore.
Consider Michael Grieco, “assistant secretary treasurer” for $151,144.25 a year. Thirty years ago, he worked for John Nucci at the Boston School Committee. Nucci, by the way, is now on the board of, you guessed it, Massport.
Most of these hack agencies have someone who’s a kind of liaison to grease the pipeline that they claim doesn’t exist, some connected person with a fancy title like “acting senior deputy chief of staff.”
Until recently, at Massport that was Ashley Stolba, for $150,000 a year. She used to work at the State House for GOP House minority leader Brad Jones. Now she’s at Harvard, no longer acting senior deputy, just “chief of staff, Harvard Allston Land Company.”
John Affuso used to work for the late Boston mayor Mumbles Menino. He is now “senior legal counsel, transactions,” for $150,000 a year.
Bob Travaglini was once the Senate president, from East Boston. One of his Massport legacies is Tommy Domenico, now the “acting chief information officer” for $200,000 a year. I wonder if Trav can still get anybody he wants on the payroll. I mean, who do you suppose has been hired to take Liz Becker’s slot? Give me a call, Trav! Long time, no see.
Before Trav was Senate president, the boss was Tom Birmingham of nearby Chelsea. Meet Tom’s guy, Anthony Guerriero, “assistant director community relations and federal affairs,” $113,405 a year.
Like Trav before him, Paul Scapicchio was a Boston city councilor from the Eastie district. Meet cousin Lou Scapicchio, “communications specialist,” $75,712. When he quit the council, Paul Scappichio went to work at Mintz, Levin, where he ran into Steve Tocco, who used to run… Massport.
While I was perusing the Massport payroll, I noticed a guy by the name of Gordon Carr – no relation. Like all the rest, his title is a mouthful – “deputy director, real estate strategy and policy,” for $166,909.38 a year.
What are Carr’s qualifications, you ask. He been around since Jane Swift days, and according to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, over the years he’s donated $20,158 to local elected hacks, including $1500 to Charlie Baker, $1750 to Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and $1000 to the Republican state committee.
Eminently qualified, in other words. Another nationwide search!
Baker was defeated in 2010 by then-Gov. Deval Patrick, but hey, in the hackerama, it’s all one big happy family. In the lifelong quest to avoid hard labor, there can be no long-term hard feelings. And so one of Deval’s former flacks, Samantha Hooper Decker, is now Massport’s “manager media relations” for $71,070.
Check out the payroll for yourself – it reads like a roll-call vote from both branches of the Massachusetts legislature in the 1980’s. Massport is a lot like the federal bureaucracy as described by Thomas Jefferson more than 200 years ago – “Vacancies by death are few, by resignation, never.”
The most amazing thing about Massport is that most of these hacks have never even run for office. They just sort of… hung around, got taken care of, and now they’re millionaires.
“I look at this one guy, he’s making 200 grand,” said one grizzled denizen of the political demimonde yesterday. “I know him — he’s never taken a bullet, never skinned his knee – and he’s making a helluva lot more dough than I’ll ever see.”
As I was inquiring about these hacks this week, there was another recurring theme – the people I was talking to often haven’t seen these Massport hacks in years, if not decades. And you know why – because, as they say at the State House, they’ve died and gone to heaven.
Heaven is Massport.
But remember, there is no pipeline to Massport from the State House and City Hall. That’s what John Pranckevicius says, and you can trust him. After all, he’s only making $297,000 a year.