A few things to begin with: First of all, we’re not trying to be super critical of Charlie Baker at this early juncture. The guy isn’t governor just yet, there’s plenty of ragging on Deval Patrick left to do, we’re really nice people, etc.
Secondly, we are more than aware that despite our pun-riffic headline, Charlie Baker isn’t technically employing people on his volunteer transition team. That said, if you think his growing posse of do-gooder advisers cares about anything other than establishing credit in the Beacon Hill favor bank, you’re more naive than a worker bee who voted against earned sick time.
Those orders of business out of the way, we’ve seen a few potential red flags so far in examining Baker’s growing circle of trust, and thought our concerns were worth sharing with those of you who rarely make it behind the Boston Globe paywall, let alone to the bottoms of the articles where all the good stuff’s buried.
Richard L. Taylor, a one-time state transportation secretary and Governor-elect Charlie Baker’s choice to play a key role in his transition, abruptly resigned from the post Friday after the Globe confronted him about his extensive unpaid tax and business judgments of more than $1 million.
The problem …
The Internal Revenue Service and the state Revenue Department have outstanding tax liens against Taylor for $596,262, according to public records examined Friday by the Globe. In addition, there are court judgments against him for $426,389, which Taylor said stem from a failed restaurant franchise. He also lost his home three years ago when Bank of America foreclosed on his Chestnut Hill residence.
You get the picture: the guy has had some business woes, and now he has been shown the door. But if you keep reading, it actually gets worse …
It also came to light that he had lost his driver’s license twice in two years — 1989 and 1990 — for failing to pay speeding tickets and that the Registry of Motor Vehicles had frozen his license renewal for a series of unpaid parking tickets.
Just kidding, it really does get worse …
In 2010, the attorney general’s office found Taylor and his restaurant manager had failed to pay $9,748 in wages to immigrant workers at the franchise. In May of that year, they were ordered to reimburse the workers and also fined $5,000.
Um. Yeah. Our new governor accepts campaign contributions from, and even tried to tap a guy who ripped off immigrant workers. We’re glad the Globe put an abrupt stop to this and all, but jeez. Talk about a message.
If that’s not despicable enough, Baker has also brought in Beth Anderson, the CEO and founder of the Phoenix Charter Academy Network, to lead his transition advisory crew on education. Did you hear what we just said? Charlie Baker, the new Republican governor who we already knew drank the charter school-aid, has entrusted public education to someone who has investment bankers on the board of her operation, and who once told the Boston Business Journal, “I sometimes think I have more in common with Boston entrepreneurs than I do with educators.” As a result, the vultures are circling, with the pro-charter Families for Excellent Schools laying groundwork for what promises to be an ugly fight.
“The transition team has no process for vetting the all-volunteer transition advisory committees,’’ Baker adviser Jim Conroy told the Globe. Understandable, but it doesn’t help when you’re proactively recruiting shady businessmen and shameless corporate ed reformers.