Well after normal business hours and with no public debate, the Massachusetts House of Representatives furtively rammed through a 25% pay increase for Massachusetts Governor’s Councilors during last night’s budget deliberations.
Amendment #701, filed by Watertown State Representative John Lawn, proposed raising the pay for the part-time Governor’s Councilors to $45,025/year and was quietly inserted into Consolidated Amendment E and approved at 8:47 p.m. The Governor’s Councilor position is part-time and meets once a week to approve warrants for the state treasury, pardons and commutations, and gubernatorial appointments.
“The Massachusetts legislature is one of the most-opaque institutions in our country. They are not subject to our state’s opening meetings laws, nor are they subject to Freedom of Information requests. There’s almost no way the public would have any way of knowing the process and reasoning that actually went into this decision,” stated Paul D. Craney, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.
“The budgeting process at the State House is completely broken. This is just one example of how taxpayer dollars get thrown around with no account. There’s absolutely no excuse why the amendment sponsor or a member of the House leadership team couldn’t have made their case as to why they feel these pay increases are necessary. Why even bother having a House Chamber if they’re going to conduct all of their debates in rooms that the press and public are barred from entering,” noted Craney.