Spring 2016

Spring 2016

The paradox of Robert DeLeo

The paradox of Robert DeLeo

The affable everyman with a vise-like grip on the House he leads

Photographs by Michael Manning ROBERT DELEO CLIMBED to the rostrum of the House of Representatives one afternoon in late January for what has become a routine annual ritual, but is also a remarkable expression of the power of his office. It was the seventh time DeLeo stood before the 160-member body as House Speaker to(...)

Read More »

Pols have carte blanche with campaign cash

Pols have carte blanche with campaign cash

Few restrictions on how lawmakers use their campaign accounts

FOR MASSACHUSETTS POLITICIANS, campaign accounts are the gifts that keep on giving. In or out of office, living or dead, there’s a lot of leeway in how elected officials spend the money they raise from supporters. From a cup of coffee to parking tickets; from Halloween costumes and decorations to tux rentals and purchases; from(...)

Read More »

Why whites control Lowell city government

Why whites control Lowell city government

Voting system concentrates power in heavily white Belvidere

Photographs by Meghan Moore LOWELL IS MOST commonly associated with block upon block of old mill buildings; immigrants from Asia and the world over; and tough streets, the kind that produced famed boxer Micky Ward. What probably does not come to mind are tidy tree-lined boulevards and quiet blocks filled with exquisitely restored Victorian homes,(...)

Read More »

Tackling the time warp at the T

Tackling the time warp at the T

Gerard Polcari tries to revamp procurement

Photograph by Mark Morelli ON HIS FIRST day on the job last May as the MBTA’s chief procurement officer, Gerard Polcari checked in with Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack and then headed straight to his office to learn everything he could about the department he was inheriting. He interviewed everyone on the staff and analyzed the(...)

Read More »

One on One with George Regan

One on One with George Regan

‘If you’ve got a mouth, use it,’ says PR poobah

Photograph by Frank Curran The scene: The Union Wharf office of George Regan, the president of Regan Communications Group and long-ago press secretary to former mayor Kevin White. His dog, Brother Bailey, named after former Boston Globe columnist Steve Bailey, is up on the table in one corner and 400 pictures, most of them of(...)

Read More »

Radically decentralize DCF’s responsibilities

Radically decentralize DCF’s responsibilities

Child welfare agency needs to be embedded in communities it serves

THE MASSACHUSETTS ORGANIZATION responsible for running the state’s child welfare system has had four different names over a period of 40 years, which is not a sign of success. Each change was prompted by widespread concern with the way the agency did its work. Extensive media coverage of terrible incidents involving vulnerable children despoiled the(...)

Read More »

Behind the Massachusetts Health Connector’s rehab

Behind the Massachusetts Health Connector’s rehab

Strong management, customer focus brought exchange website back from brink

AT 11:59 PM on October 31, 2015, about 20 nervous state officials and contractors hunched around computer terminals in a non-descript office in the Charles F. Hurley Building near Beacon Hill. Among them was Louis Gutierrez, executive director of the Massachusetts Health Connector, appointed the previous February by newly inaugurated Gov. Charlie Baker. The launch(...)

Read More »

MA congressional delegation itching for change

MA congressional delegation itching for change

Most want to end seniority; some want to dump Pelosi

GOING INTO THE 2016 ELECTION, Republicans hold 246 seats in the House of Representatives. Democrats have 188. For Massachusetts, with its nine-member, all-Democrat delegation, this is a very bad situation and one that’s unlikely to get better any time soon. Among the nine, the angst is palpable. The minority party in the House enjoys almost(...)

Read More »

Pump slump good for government

Pump slump good for government

Lower gas prices, more driving mean more revenue

FALLING FUEL PRICES may be wreaking havoc in oil-producing countries, but they are bringing smiles to drivers in Massachusetts and helping state and local officials keep their budgets in balance. The price of gasoline has dropped by nearly half since mid-2012, when the average retail price hovered around $3.59 a gallon. By March of this(...)

Read More »