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St. Patrick’s, er, I mean Evacuation Day

Couple of items on the manufactured scandal over Evacuation and Bunker Hill Days. (For those of you who don’t know, the two days are official Suffolk County holidays celebrated, respectively, on March and June 17ths. Bunker Hill Day is pretty self-explanatory. Evacuation Day is a little more arcane – it celebrates the day in 1776 when the British army evacuated Boston. Both houses of the Legislature recently considered amendments to eliminate the holidays, in what I would guess is a vain attempt to throw beleaguered taxpayers a bone. Both amendments were narrowly defeated.) First, despite some rather overblown rhetoric emanating from the Legislature – cue Angelo Scaccia, whose defense of the holidays includes this tidbit (You can read the full […]

A Few Wrinkles in the DiMasi Indictment

Former House Speaker Sal DiMasi was indicted today. You can read the indictment itself here. I won’t belabor the obvious, but a few secondary points stuck out to me: – COGS at Cognos — Cognos agreed to pay one of the other indictees, Joe Lally, a 20% commission on sales. Is that standard in the industry — to pay a middleman 20% of the deal? Maybe it is standard, but it doesn’t make me feel great about our IT procurement process if that’s built into the price of a typical deal. – Conflict of Interest Laws — Part of the allegations involve DiMasi receiving a kickback for referrals that went to his law partner. I’m not sure how you fix […]

We will be able to do this soon

My favorite Education Intelligence Agent Mike Antonucci had this news out of California: There are 3,000 retired educators receiving a six-figure state pension. And that’s out of a total of just over 5,000 for all types of state employees. Pretty outstanding performance for educators in the Golden Parachute State. Now the good news. Pioneer is building as well as a number of other government transparency sites for release this summer and fall. We’ll be able to pull out all kinds of gems like that back here in the Bay State for folks who are interested in understanding how the numbers stack up.

Will MA forfeit education stimulus dollars? passes on this AP report on US Ed Secretary Arne Duncan’s threat to stonewallers on charter schools. As part of the federal stimulus package, there is a $5 billion fund to promote innovations, and President Obama is a clear proponent of charters. So what if a state does not promote charters, has caps, makes excuses, and all the rest? Ah, so glad that you ask a question pertinent to our dear Bay State. States will hurt their chance to compete for millions of federal stimulus dollars if they fail to embrace innovations like charter schools, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Thursday. Duncan was responding to a question about Tennessee, where Democratic state lawmakers have blocked an effort to let […]

13 is not the right number

Reading about the investigation into misconduct at the MBTA Police Academy jogged my memory to a story earlier in the week about little-used police academies. Let’s look at the list of police academies: State Entities — MBTA, State Police State-Run for Localities — Randolph, Springfield, Reading, Boylston, Plymouth, New Bedford, and Foxborough Locally-Run — Boston, Lowell, Springfield, and Worcester Does this make any sense, particularly in this period when few new officers are being hired? Wouldn’t consolidation lower costs (for the state and municipalities) and improve the level of training? My favorite part of the story is the chief from Walpole stating that they don’t use the Randolph training center because the drive is too long in the mornings. I […]