The Boston Herald’s Strange Disclosures: The Bulger Beating Goes On

(1) Baker 1Nothing intrigues the public more than who is on the public payroll. The one big public payroll everyone wonders about is the MBTA which seems to have the capacity for endless growth. The other day the Herald had an article on the MBTA which has become its bête noire.   It was very strange in many ways.

Let me count the ways.

First, it reported that over the past two years the MBTA hired 1,066 people. The best I could find is that in 2009 it had 6,346 people on its payroll of whom about 10% were part time. I don’t see that there has been much change in its operation since 2009 so I assume the figures are basically the same. How come the idea of hiring almost 20% of the workforce over a two year period does not seem to concern the Herald writers?

It would be nice if Charlie Baker could tell us something about that. As I understand it we have the most expensive transit system in the world. I can see why if those figures are correct and we are replenishing the total organization every half decade.

The Second strange thing is that there are no names connected with the hiring. The Herald reports that around 10% of the work force are hired through connections , or at least that they are hired because other members of their family work there. I don’t find that odd in the least.

It is a very good place to work. It has a great pension plan and the pay is over 30% higher than those working in other transit systems. Add to that, 24% of the workforce earns over 100,000 a year with one guy or gal earning over $300,000. Considering it is a mostly blue-collar workforce and no real experience is required I’m sort of shocked that so few relatives have been able to get onto the payroll. The figure should be around fifty to sixty percent rather than ten.

But then again perhaps the figure is that high. The Herald naively gave us the numbers of those who self-reported. You have to believe that those who got the best jobs were told not to put down that their uncle, brother, father, or mother also worked there. That is really how the insiders play the game.

The Third strange thing was the MBTA wanted the Herald to dish up about $2,400 for the information. That apparently was what the cost of assembling it would be and what you or I would be charged for the information. The Herald complained to Governor Charlie Baker and Senate President Rosenberg who put the arm on the MBTA and it waived the fee. Isn’t there something wrong with that? Don’t you get the feeling a little ball game is going on:

HERALD: “Charlie can you help us out. We want some state services for free.” Charlie: “OK – I’ll save you the money – but you guys owe me!”

Next time you want to save on some state imposed costs do you think you’ll have those guys looking out for you?

Where’s the Fed Fred Wyshak when we need him. Obviously there’s patronage happening and obviously the governor is giving away state money in exchange for a favor. I hope Wyshak does not hear about it or there will be some sad folk out there.

The Fourth strange thing, and  the strangest thing of all is something that will bring Fred Wyshak out of his den. At the end of the article was the following which I copied:

I knew the MBTA, obviously, and Baker and Rosenberg were mentioned in the article. I had to go back to see where Billy Bulger was mentioned. His name was nowhere to be found.

When I tell you he has been a target of the Feds and the Boston media for decades; and I suggest that nothing will stop either in their continuing attacks on him by impugning his name; I suggest such a move by the Herald gratuitously putting his name on this article goes a long way to proving my point.



  1. Call me crazy, but what I suggested…I think of… as doing good.
    So, if that’s what they deleted…then shame on them.
    Another point for Billy.

  2. Hi Matt,
    I think it’s most likely that the story did contain something about Bulger that was deleted before the article was published. The editor or reporter who did this forgot to delete the Bulger link at the bottom of the story. Thus, Bulger’s name pops with no context or explanation at the bottom of the story.

    • Dan,
      Your scenario begs the questions…..
      What could the article have contained about Mr. Bulger?
      Why on earth was it deleted, and by whom?

      • Dunno … It may what you suggested. The Herald reporter decided to stroll down memory lane with a paragraph or two about Bulger and patronage. The material may have been deleted because of space limitations, or for reasons of relevance. I wonder whether any of the Herald’s younger readers (if the newspaper has any) even know who Billy Bulger is.

  3. Matt,
    To be fair, former Senate President Bulger has been known in the past, (understatement emphasized) to utilize the Commonwealth’s public transit system as a vehicle to demonstrate his beneficence and loyalty to his constituency, by providing jobs to the hard-working citizens of his district.
    But that was a million years ago. No connection now.
    And that’s not a crime, correct?

    He’s no DiMasi, Finneran, or Flaherty….. but he sure loved Curley.