Paying Attention! with Tom Duggan
By: Tom Duggan – January, 2010
You don’t have to punch in, you have no immediate supervisor checking your work, there are no assigned hours, no dock in pay for missing work and no requirement to be in State House offices during work hours.
All the while you get to rake in more than $60,000 a year plus benefits for this (barely) part-time job.
There are several State Representatives who don’t even show up for a majority of their votes. They can never be found at The State House and they are completely inaccessible to the public. Sadly, those Representatives get reelected by the voters in their districts every time they run.
What’s more, almost every Representative on Beacon Hill has a full time job while “serving” the people of Massachusetts.
Haverhill State Representative Brian Dempsey runs a busy insurance company full time. Barry Finegold, Dave Torrisi, even State Senator Steve Baddour all run lucrative law practices during the day instead of being at The State House doing the people’s business.
Why is Willie Lantigua any different just because his job is going to be paid for by the people of Lawrence?
Does it really take more time and effort to be the Mayor of Lawrence than it does to defend a lifetime criminal in a murder trial? I’m pretty sure it doesn’t.
So it’s no surprise to me that Lawrence Mayor Willie Lantigua (da chief) has announced that he will keep his job as Lawrence’s State Representative while also serving as the city’s Mayor.
He believes he can do both jobs given how little State Representatives actually do. And he is right.
There is no law prohibiting him from being a Mayor and a State Representative, and though Lantigua’s colleagues are trying to change that, I say it should be up to the people of Lawrence and no one else.
Think what you want about his politics, Willie Lantigua is a smart guy. He is fully capable of being the Mayor of Lawrence while keeping his barely part time job in Boston. Clearly he can do both jobs and do them well.
If the people of Lawrence have a problem with that, they can vote against him when he comes up for reelection. But it certainly isn’t the business of State Representatives from Worcester, Framingham or anywhere else.
But they are trying really hard to make it their business and it’s not because they care about the people of Lawrence.
What they care about is protecting the cash cow on Beacon Hill that allows them to get full time pay for barely part time work, all the while spending 80 hours a week running law offices, chain stores, and insurance companies or consulting firms.
Every day that Lantigua holds both jobs he is a living, breathing reminder to the voters that these guys are getting away with murder every single day. They don’t want the gravy train to ever end.
They are afraid that it will cause a backlash among the voters, especially when guys like Howie Carr and Tommy Duggan start to use Lantigua’s double dipping to shine the light of day on the fact that these guys are getting rich on our dime while running their own side businesses, all the while their constituents are out looking for work.
Let’s face it, nobody believed that Willie was going to step down from his legislative job once he won the mayor’s race and had nothing to lose. I certainly didn’t.
And although he did say (at least according to the Eagle~Tribune) that he would give up his seat in Boston if he won the Mayors race, he never specified when he would step down and he certainly never promised to vacate the seat immediately.
Mayor Lantigua may find on his own that being the Mayor of Lawrence and a State Representative at the same time is just too much for him to handle.
And maybe he won’t. But that decision is up to Willie Lantigua (da chief) and the people of Lawrence…. and nobody else.
Tom Duggan is the publisher of The Valley Patriot, a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass. Citizens Alliance, and hosts the Paying Attention! Radio Program on WCAP, 980AM, every Saturday from 10am-noon. You can email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org