What is a hack? There are many definitions but I have my own litmus test criteria for a hack and a hack can be at all levels from say local to state and federal. To me the most important credential to have in your hack folder is qualifications - the less you have for a particular slot the better off you are. Having a hack without even the basic knowledge or skills for the position they have been dumped into is just plain H-U-G-E. When a hack speaks it should have about as much coherent sense as a sentence by Mayor Menino. Remember - if a hack’s IQ looks like a room temperature they are really set for life! Stupid is a real plus.
A hack also has to have a pedigree and that takes the form of being a party regular, related to someone in the power structure, have a nice track record of contributions, have dirt on someone or just serving a substantial amount of time in the lower echelons of the payroll patriot kingdom. Reward for loyalty - a hack must always expect to be thrown under the bus - is movement into a position for which you are paid substantially more and have far less knowledge than your previous posting.
Being tossed under the bus is in the job description for a hack. Your patron must never take the fall. This is your responsibility. Think of hack land as the Barzini or Tattaglia families - you are a soldier and sometimes soldiers become fodder but remember it is a two way street. Your silence and loyalty will be rewarded either with another position or within the party structure if “the heat” is too great. Think Goodfella’s - “always keep your mouth shut” and “Never rat on your friends.”
A hack must always fly under the radar. Never bring attention to yourself. Avoid public displays that could eventually be linked to your patron with the tag line “who got this clown his/her job?” Hacks without this basic skill become fodder for the Boston Herald.
To a hack the most important thing is “the kiss.” The kiss is just your accrued pension time. Ten years and you are vested. Then you build upon it. Twenty-five or maybe thirty years and life is good - very good - health insurance, fat check and a sundry of other perks that one may get. Most important is to get the big checks the last few years as that is what your pension is based on.
A hack NEVER takes sick time. NEVER call in sick. NEVER! You want to ensure that you get compensated for unused vacation or sick time. Just don’t show. Everyone is aware of your connections and you are probably well established in your hack hatchery so what goes on in hackville stays in hackville. Somebody screws with you they’ll get screwed with. Hacks do not throw each other under the bus - their patrons do. As far as vacations? Same as sick time but there is a formula. You only take one third of your vacation despite probably taking three months off. Same principle as sick time.
Now Hack Burgess on the side bar is what happens when a hack goes down. She resigned but will beyond a doubt resurface again. Now when this hack was outed the Patrick administration did a worthy job - they “lost” her paperwork. It was shredded. No paper trail to trace back who got this hack her job. Your tax dollars at work.
Former Boston Mayor Kevin White is now in the news again with information surfacing that his administration solicited and took bribes. I am shocked! In the mid 1970s I was in grad school at B.U. (Public Administration) and the school was infiltrated with the three political cliques of Boston - Kevin White, Dashiki clad Mel King and Joe Timilty who all had butt kissers on the faculty. Oh the stories of ward politics! Once had Dapper O’Neil of the Boston City Council show up to give a lecture packing a fire arm. But for White he built a career on local patronage and that means loyalty. I remember White being quizzed by a new reporter (woman) who was new to Boston and asked the Mayor “You have given many patronage jobs to your friends and city contracts to businesses after your recent election victory. Do you have an ethics issue with this?” White looks at her and says “Lady, in case you missed it - I won. Who the f**k am I suppose to give the jobs and contracts to - those who worked against me?”
Tip O’Neil said all politics is local and so is the response. I recently had the opportunity to see our local services in action with a semi emergency situation. My daughter has purchased a condo and a few days before the purchase the lender - a government lender - required an operational sink be installed. This required entry and installation. When the water was turned on a minor flood happened thanks to another government contractor failing to turn off a valve. This forced her to get electric service pronto. The owner of the condo - Fannie Mae - went nuts saying we should not have been in the building. A real Catch-22. We had their permission! Fannie Mae my daughter has been dealing with for months. Incompetent from the experience she has had. The loan originator - U.S. Department of Agriculture she has gone through two months of conflicting requirements.
The Middleboro Water Department, G&E and Building Department had all stepped up. First getting water turned on and second fast tracking electrical service after some minor repairs to bring it up to code. They did it in hours. Hats off for sure. If this was the Feds we’d be screwed.
After the closing I asked the Fannie Mae representative via phone about all this nonsense from one agency to another with conflicting requirements and mixed messages. Her reply; “We only follow our orders.” My reply: “That is what the Nazi’s said at Nuremberg.