Wednesday, June 15, 2011

And the band played on...

By now, you're probably aware of the mysterious case of State Representative Mark Cusack.

According to published reports, Cusack was found in the Chamber of the House of Representatives with a female aide in the wee hours of the morning after the House passed its version of the FY2012 Budget back in April.

Yesterday, House Speaker Robert DeLeo announced that his office had conducted a probe into the incident, which he claims to have been made aware of only last Friday, and that Representative Cusack and the aide had been cleared of having broken any law or institutional rule.

Who knows what Representative Cusack and this aide were doing on the House floor that night. But, following Speaker DeLeo's announcement yesterday, we now know what they were doing immediately before they were alone in the House Chamber in the dark of night.

According to the Speaker -- who reportedly was not personally in the State House at the time of the incident -- the pair snuck into the House Chamber by way of a doorway connected directly to the Speaker's private office, which is adjacent to the Chamber. If you've worked in the House before, like we have, you know that use of this door is a pretty exclusive privilege; few people other than the Speaker and his leadership team are ever allowed into the Speaker's private office, and few of them are allowed access to the floor from there.

Apparently, Cusack and the aide in question were in the Speaker's office partying with a group of lawmakers and staff who were drinking alcohol and celebrating the passage of the budget.

There is so much we could say... So many roads we could go down here...

But, leaving some of those comments aside, we ask this question -- exactly what the heck were these representatives celebrating?

Did these guys get the memo that our state is in what leaders of their own party have called a fiscal crisis? Did they notice that the budget they passed increased state long-term debt service payments by 15%, pushed out the schedule to fund our pension system, and slashed unrestricted local aid to cities and towns by $65 million?

This is cause for celebration? (We highly doubt they were crying in their beer.)

C'mon guys. Get with it. People are hurting out here, and just because the state's problems seem better when you look at them through the bottom of a glass doesn't mean you're doing anything to make them go away.

Just weeks before this incident, Cusack himself told leaders in his district not to fret about the budget because, "We’re up there fighting." Fighting for what? The last brewski?

Notwithstanding the Speaker's measured public comments, Speaker DeLeo must be privately furious over this incident. We're sure this is the last thing the Speaker wanted to deal with at the same time a federal corruption trial against a former House Speaker was on its way to the jury. This incident is tough for an institution trying not to look like it behaves badly. We hope the membership will take heed and clean up its act, not just for their own sake, for the good of the majority of Massachusetts residents who don't get to walk through that secret door.

1 comment:

  1. Guess "Happy Hour" really does exist on Beacon Hill, except it occurs at all hours of the day/night. You are correct...what could anyone celebrate in this train wreck of a budget process? Since this is public property, when will we be invited to the next "Happy Hour" that is happening in the speakers office. Will it be today to celebrate DiMasi's guilty verdict? Now that is something that the Speaker could for the alumni !! Maybe we will hear of a celebration about the goodies in the soon to be voted on supplemental budget. Yep, another place to hoist a few brews. And what about Mr. Jones....he had a player to be named later at the party. What is he doing/saying about the alleged cavorting with the the opposition? Let's all call Menino and suggest there needs to be an All Alcoholic Beverages Permit for the Speaker's Office. After all, public officials need to party at the office....unlike private workers who take their celebrations to legitimate business places. Wonder if it was a cash bar? Are we missing sales tax revenue? DeLeo sure had the olde Beacon Hill broom to sweep things under the rug. And nobody dares to challenge him,. as he, like all his predecessors, holds the keys (money, goodies, and booze) to the Magic Kingdom of MA. Shameful !!!!! Beacon Hill is still a SEWER filled with rodents that we elect. But then again, they must laugh at our stupidity. Pass me another brew ! PS>>>your article was great and spot on.


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