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Great Moments in Public Management, Pt. MCMLXVII

New York’s Inspector General has released a scathing report on the former state health commissioner (and former Surgeon General) Antonia Novello that details her rampant abuse of state automobiles and employees. She used them to ferry her on various shopping expeditions, run numerous personal errands, and perform household tasks. My favorite comment from a former employee, as pointed out by the New York Times: Novello’s fondness for shopping was so well known that employees in the office would give her sales fliers or coupons to encourage her to leave the office so that they would not have to work late

MA budget woes and the federal stimulus package

Governor Patrick has to close a budget gap of at least $950 million at this point. How will he do it? What we know so far is that the Governor is seeking · Over $300 million in additional cuts · $128 million local aid cuts Which means that via withdrawals from state reserves and anticipated assistance from the still being defined federal stimulus package, he will need to close at least half a billion dollars of the budget gap. I think we will be learning quite a lot about the federal stimulus package from the Governor’s budget announcement at 11 a.m.

Fiddling while the budget burns

It took about a year after I left the State House to realize that no one outside the building cared when the Governor’s budget was released or who vetoed what or hundreds of other ‘events’ inside the building. With that in mind, I think its time for the House of Representatives to call themselves to order for real. The protracted drama over Sal DiMasi and the now-resolved Rogers-DeLeo spat made for great palace intrigue. But they crowded out important policy issues, like massive mid-year 9C cuts, a $3 billion deficit in FY10, and..yes..the upcoming release of the Governor’s budget.

What Problem Are They Trying To Solve

Bureaucracies have a wonderful, self-sustaining way of letting rules and regulations evolve. They are less skilled at pulling back from their day-to-day existence and asking “why do we do this?” I bring this up to frame a story of one particular family’s experience registering with the Boston Public Schools (which have seen enrollment decline over the past 10 years). And from anecdotal evidence, I can assure you that no one from outside Boston is sneaking their children into Boston’s kindergartens. Yet, upon presentation of proof-of-residency that included a copy of their property deed, multiple utility bills, proof of mortgage payment, and car registration, they were informed that additional documentation would be needed. (And as a sidebar, all this information is […]

Will the Guv hit a homer on charters or more ho-hum

The Governor is making an announcement on charters. He has taken a lot of heat on his opposition subsequent to the Boston Foundation report that clearly demonstrates their success. The question is whether he will come out and target attention on charters to the urban districts, which we believe should be the compromise, or whether he will come up with an unworkable finance scheme? If the latter, if he underfunds charters, then he is essentially making the argument that we should have a separate and unequal funding stream for charters. He doesn’t want to do that now, or does he? Remember: Ed reform in 1993 came out of a court case that insisted on a fairer use of funds for […]