Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hacks And Politics

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.


Suo Mynona said...

It is not the Hack's fault. It is not even the fault of the appointing person. The real issue is that we live in a society where such actions are increasingly tolerated and more legal than illegal. It is like gun laws. More and more laws are passed, none are enforced.

We are witnessing the slow decay of this great country. Entitlements were once provided to those who were worthy, now they are expected by 50% of the population. This last election cycle gave birth to the entitlement society that began incubation 40 years ago.

JFK. Would now be considered a right of center republican. Bill Clinton, in last 6 years, would be a moderate conservative. Both, of course social progressives.

In the end we are all hacks. Who amongst us has not taken advantage of an opportunity that presents itself, from a bizarre tax deduction to trying to squirm out of ticket to accepting COLAs

Suo Mynona said...

BTW I am a staunch 2nd amendment guy

bogofree said...

I did not get into the other side of hackdom that is located in the DPS (Dreaded Private Sector).

Now the focus with a hack is the total lack of suitable qualifications for the job - heck, Obama could be the ultimate hack. Anyways, a business will often be flooded with lay about relatives and friends to the determent of the bottom line. IMO Mammoth Mart failed for this very reason.

But with a business the management - usually a family tun operation - can just get rid of the deadwood and risk family outbursts.

In my own experience I would not recommend a friend or family member to a position unless I was 99.9% sure they could do the job. In fact I found this quite true but exceptions exist.

When a political hack does damage it is either buried, they are transferred or it goes unnoticed. With the government hacks that pink slip is rare indeed.

Anonymous said...

When I worked in the New York Court system, if you were a surely clerk and were abusing the public at the counter, then they promote you to a managing clerk where you don't deal with the public. It is an odd way to do business.

But I do admit that the private sector also seems to operate off the "Peter Principle."*

*The Peter Principle is a belief that, in an organization where promotion is based on achievement, success, and merit, that organization's members will eventually be promoted beyond their level of ability. The principle is commonly phrased, "employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence."

Suo Mynona said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suo Mynona said...

Hey Bogo I have asked your Buddy Belanger two times the simple question if he supports the use of CPC/CPA money for the society organ.

Talk about a weasel. Belanger won't give an answer. He was so quick to condemn and blog anout local elected officials for their views. Now he won't say squat.

It is real simple: yes I believe it is a good use of funds or no I do not think it is a proper use of funds.

Typical BB hypocrisy at its finest.

Suo Mynona said...

Imagine the trash fee (tax) days.

Audience member: "Mr. Andrews what is your opinion?"

Me: "Gee willikers Mr. Cleaver, I really don't want say what it is, people might get mad at me" -- all the while thinking "hmm maybe I will try to make the unpopular motion when no one is listening.

Officials have to make decisions. People have a right to know where they stand.

LMAO said...

Well, Adam, the level of incompetence in public service appears epidemic at times. Without a public sector The Boston Herald would cease publication. I think with PS the Peter Principle is easy to obtain.

Family Guy said...

CPA allows monies for projects that are religious as long as they are historical. I find that a rather bizarre way of using tax dollars to support a religious organization since that is exactly what it does.

With the local organ question I am firmly against it. The Unitarians and specifically Jeff Stevens have raised their own personal ire over a creche and a cross but the local SOH (Society of Hypocrites) now want me and you to fund their religious organization with our tax dollars?

Suo Mynona said...

A friend with a family business calls it the The Reverse Peter Principle...when a family member sinks to their level of incompetency.

bogofree said...

Looks like BB and Suo will not be exchanging cards this but will exchange barbs.

Suo Mynona said...

Family Guy

You have officially let the genie out of the bottle with regards to the organ.

I do not not know much about the Unitarian Universalits. I do know they have many nice/outstanding people. I like Jeff and he has done much for the town over many years. He was the watchdog for the town to reduce electrical waste in the school system. It has been successful. His participation in Town Government is positiive.

However, I have spoken with him face to face on my level of disagreement on his support of the drive-by lawyer on the cross and how he has caused the town anguish over the creche. His position on both topics in some ways has been a plus. The townspeople have demonstrated disagreement.

My casual observations is that he has been acting as an individual, not as a representative of the UUs. The only other UU i know that is in apparent lockstep with Jeff is Mark Belanger -- a newbie to the society.

The mistake the UU's made, IMO, is to make Jeff S the point man to secure public funds for their church or society. I would like to believe the parishioners are unaware of the hypocrisy.

The Organ Debate Should be Postponed

I do not think the CPC should support the application at this time. Likewise, I think it is insulting for Jeff Stevens to apply at this time. Jeff, the CPC and everyone who attends town meeting knows it will cause a derisive debate. The town has just completed the healing process from the casino and is finally banking money. Let's have a kumbaya town meeting while we can.


Belanger is still a weasel for not expressing his position. He should show leadership on this issue. As I understand the law, normal conflicts of interest are not as strict for CPC members. At the very least a simple disclosure is required. Maybe Adam can provide confirmation. (this gal knows her stuff)

sm867 said...

Way back in time there were people that worked for the candidates and if the candidate won then some of the helpers got a job. Of course back then the jobs didn't pay very much and the benefits were not as good as they are today. Now the sign holder or phone caller helper gets $100,000 job with all kinds of perks. My, how things have changed. Of course, anyone running needs help and some people want the really good jobs. And they may not have any remote qualifications for a job but the candidate needs to stick them someplace. and every so often one of these payroll patriots manage to get their name in the paper. That's when we get upset. Of course we usually run into these mooks at the REGISTRY of MOTOR VEHICLES. Now, to be fair, there are a whole lot of good and efficient State workers. But, don't you just hate it when you get a mook to deal with?

Anonymous said...

What MB is required to disclose and what he should disclose in good conscience are 2 different things. I believe that the disclosure of his membership in UU should cause him to remove himself from the vote under 23(b)(3), but I somehow doubt that the Commission will do anything to address the conflict.

What surprises me more is that the proponent of the project, Jeff, came before my board and prior boards screaming that the creche on the Town lawn was unlawful. Indeed, he counseled the BOS that it should avoid "entanglement with religion" at all costs. Historic or not, I don't want my money going to resurrect an organ for a private entity, anymore than I want to see CPA money used to restore a torah just in from Jerusalem. It would be a bad decision and would set a very bad tone at the Town Meeting at which it is raised -- particularly with the conflicts that exist with the individuals, and with the project.

BTW: I fought to keep the creche on Town Hall lawn. It will always be Christmas to me, and screw the "holiday" bunch.

Suo Mynona said...

Things have a way of working out. The crèche looks wonderful where it is, on the lawn of the Central Congregational Church. An historic church that rebuilt from a devastating fire, without CPA funds and across the street from "the organ" and the Town Hall.

Adam has been very consistent on two hot button issues: Respect for veterans & Christmas not being reduced to just a federal holiday for those of Christian Faith.

bogofree said...


The best dumping grounds are the quasi agencies such as MassPort or MBTA.

North Slope Rigger said...

MBTA is a great gig. Back in the 70s one of my best buds father worked for the MBTA. My bud graduated from college but ended up on the "T" as a car cleaner making more dough than he was in a white collar job. Went on to become a car man and then a union rep (no work) and finally closed out his illustrious 27 year career with a management job. Retired at 50. Full medical insurance.