By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – The administration of Gov. Deval Patrick is under fire lately over two recent stories that reflect poorly, to put it very mildly, on its competence.

And in a scenario that has become familiar, he’s so defensive about them, he’s on the offensive.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

One is the string of deaths involving children under the watch of the Department for Children and Families, especially the scandal of a DCF supervisor faking reports of visits to the troubled home of a five-year-old boy who is missing and presumed dead.

But while the relatively-new commissioner of DCF says the buck stops with her, the governor dismisses calls for her resignation, calling them “the theater of public life” in the Globe Sunday.

Commissioner Roche may or may not be part of the DCF problem.

But the governor is also notably quick to attack the critics of Roche and Jean Yang, captain of the Health Connector Titanic, calling them “deeply invested…leaders who are helping to solve problems. And when things go wrong and the mob forms, it’s really hard for them.”

The “mob,” governor?

Poor choice of word.

State government is a big, complex organization, no doubt, and no one claims this or any governor wants things to go wrong.

But when they do, it’s absolutely essential that higher-ups, including the governor and his appointees, be held accountable by the public and the media, or “the mob” as the governor might call it.

A governor is elected to push the permanent bureaucracy toward goals endorsed by the voters – proper treatment of health-insurance consumers, for instance, or adequate protection of vulnerable children. His hires ought to know that utter failure could be a job-threatening development.

Even if it takes a chorus of angry voices from the outside to compete with the defensive voice at the top.

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


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