Will implement a Fair Hiring Code if elected
October 16, 2014
Today the three statewide candidates of the Green-Rainbow party pledged to refuse to cooperate with the patronage system on Beacon Hill if elected. They promised to implement a Fair Hiring Code within their own offices and to submit legislation to make patronage practices prosecutable.
According to State Auditor candidate M K Merelice, "For decades the patronage hiring culture on Beacon Hill has been wasting taxpayer money by putting ill-suited people in important public service jobs. And it has violated the rights of job applicants who seek to enter government service. We plan to end the practice in our own offices first, and set a standard that will eventually apply government-wide."
In the recent Probation Department scandal that was triggered by a Boston Globe investigative series, it was revealed that secret lists of persons to be hired were maintained and that applicant scores were manipulated to bring the politically connected applicants to the top of the list. In some cases legislators were said to have employed threats of cuts to department funding to pressure agencies to hire their friends.
"As members of a party that is independent of the Beacon Hill political machines, we are dedicated to dismantling the patronage system" said Danny Factor, candidate for Secretary of State. " The use of a budget threat to obtain patronage jobs should be a prosecutable offense, just like offering a bribe to divert an elected official from their duty. It isn't something to be winked at."
The envisioned Fair Hiring Code would ban the practice of keeping secret lists of job applicants sponsored by legislators. It would make public a log of all contacts from legislators or others regarding any job applicant. And it would require that any lobbying done on behalf of a job applicant be submitted in writing with the letters placed in the applicant's application folder. Any attempt by a legislator to use the threat of budget decisions, legislative decisions, or any other use of the power of elected office to pressure an agency regarding hiring of particular applicants would be promptly reported to the agency head and to the Inspector General.
"We will also vigorously protect the honesty and objectivity of the scoring process. Scores should not be changed after the fact to push a favored applicant to the top," said Ian Jackson, candidate for State Treasurer.
"Just a few years ago, indictments were generated that alleged politically-motivated actions by State Lottery employees. Given the millions of dollars involved in the Lottery, we must have every confidence in the independence of this commission that is providing critical aid to our cities and towns."
"In the end this is about whether elected officials can be trusted to use their powers of office for the common good rather than abuse those powers for personal gain," added Factor. "Stealing a job slot for a friend has all too often been regarded as a privilege of office. But this is a theft from the people and it should be prosecuted as such. At the very least, when Green-Rainbow Party members take office we will invite the Commonwealth's brightest and most dedicated job seekers to come to work with us to make government work for all people. And they will know that they don't need insider connections to enter government service."
Links to GRP candidate websites can be found at http://www.green-rainbow.org/candidates