Keller: Governor’s View Of Corruption

BOSTON (CBS ) – In the wake of the revolting Probation department scandal, do you still doubt that there’s an entire generation of people in power in this state who’ve concluded that public service is about enriching themselves first, and serving the public a distant second, if it registers at all?

Do you agree with Gov. Patrick that, while there may be isolated pockets of corruption in the public sector here, that public confidence is being eroded by irresponsible news media who “paint with too broad a brush” when we report on it?

If you answered yes to either of those questions, I urge you to check out the front-page story in yesterday’s Globe.

Reporter Sean Murphy found out that Middlesex County Sheriff Jim DiPaola, just days before winning another six-year term in that $123,000-a-year job, had taken out retirement papers. Under a loophole in the apparently-still-loophole-ridden state pension laws, if he didn’t take his paycheck for a couple of months after filing for retirement, he could start pocketing his $98,500 annual pension as well as the sheriff’s salary – in essence, a nifty 80 percent pay hike. All perfectly legal under our corrupted pension law, as DiPaolo pointed out to Murphy when he initially called him on it.

But after what he claims was a sleepless night contemplating how the story would play, DiPaolo changed his mind, telling the Globe that he didn’t want to be remembered as a double-dipper, and that instead he will resign his post and make do with that fat pension.

How selfless. Of course, the voters of Middlesex County will now be represented in the sherriff’s office for six years by a political appointee of the governor. We’ll see if that’s an improvement over the stewardship of a man who apparently cared little for the job itself, just its financial benefits. And please note how this lovely tale of public-sector greed would never have come to light if the press hadn’t been wielding its broad brush.

Incredibly, the governor doubts there are many stories like this. Do you?

Listen to Jon Keller’s comentary here:

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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