February 2009

The final battle in the war to destroy the state delivery of Human Services in Massachusetts is entering an almost final phase under a Democratic Governor Deval Patrick in a heartless insensitive act.

The victors are not the persons in need of services, taxpayers, or the beleaguered often maligned dedicated career state employees who provide services to this most needy and vulnerable population.

The big winners are the so called non profit, not for profit, and for profit corporations that are composed of the well heeled army of pirating profiteer vendors, consultants, providers, and alleged liberal lobbyists receiving billions in tax dollars masquerading as angels of mercy. They operate with interrelated entities, real estate, many in first class luxury with salaries with expensive perks AIG and Bear Stearns would be proud.

Several of these entities have been exposed in the media and in audits. Yet many are rewarded with further contracts. Estimates of inefficiencies of waste, fraud and abuse range from a low of one $billion to several $billions. All or most operate outside of the State Ethics Commission, Open Meeting Laws, Freedom of Information Act and Competitive Bidding utilizing tax dollars.

The Governor now is embarking on closing 3 schools for the mentally retarded that house some of the most profound cases requiring 24/7 care. This is terrorizing families long promised and many aged that the homes of their loved ones would not be taken away or moved. The three facilities on the chopping block are the Monson Development Center, Monson; Glavin Regional center, Shrewsbury: and Fernald Development Center, Waltham.

These facilities are self contained and provide needed services for the clients and allow integration into the community when possible. What will happen will be turning this fragile population into so called community isolated warehouses with questionable support client support? There are always ready and willing profiteers and developers ready to be unaccountable to provide these services for financial gain.

The problem with the state delivery system has been a lack of resources consistently provided and modernization resulting in setting them up to failure. When the state gets out of providing services a monopoly and a dependence on the Human Services Industrial Complex with continued skyrocketing costs done without an economic analysis will come about. State Government will be gouged as there will be no competition and no safety net by not having any emergency structure available to care for those in need.

This assault on the state delivery system has been happening for years under both Democratic and Republican Governors and the manipulation of the Human Services Vendor Establishment that is out of control. That system is not accountable causing the state budget to be riddled with waste, fraud, and abuse.

Some of the unions have knowingly or unknowing have become allies and often coalition with the Human Services Industrial Establishment. One entity is the Massachusetts Branch described as outdated Council 93 of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees. The group has done little or nil to advocate modernization of the state delivery system resulting in the demise of many former state direct care facilities. There has been seen loss of many of its own dues paying members that seems not to alarm oblivious union bosses who maintain a false front?

Another union group is somewhat more interesting to observe and finds contradictions. That group is the Massachusetts Branch of Service Employees International Union run nationally by embattled head receiving publicity of late Andy Stern. Three branches and agendas will be addressed here.

They include Local 509 known for the many State Social Workers represented. This group was an early backer of Deval Patrick and now is seeing many of its members being unfairly laid off? This group always appears to be key allies of the private vendors seeking to perform their member services and only cursory advocate for a state delivery system provided by its own members. Rarely, if at all, will this group stand up against contracting out their member state services. For several years, Local 509 has simultaneously been organizing and representing both competing private and public sectors. Apparently, the opium of dues for the operation of the labor boss leadership prevails at the expense of the membership?

The next group Local l199 in recent years has descended upon Massachusetts from New York with deep pockets for political campaigns and organization. Note the work done for Deval Patrick and other legislative races. This group is out organizing the death carnage of the state delivery system and other private facilities that has come about because of falling apart due to the negligence of Council 93 (AFSCME) and Local Union 509 SEIU.

One premise circulated by those watching the labor bosses of Local 509 and Local 1199 maybe the exposed strategy employed by Blue Cross and the Massachusetts General Hospital crowd to raise rates recently exposed in the Boston Globe? These two groups maybe employing a similar strategy in their collaboration with the Human Services Industrial Establishment on so many issues? Letting the state delivery system fail and see workers displaced, then organize the new entities and utilize the strategy of joint lobbying for protection in the legislature for grants, higher rates, and more unaccountable tax dollars?

What is interesting to note is another state union National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) which has been under a microscope of late on other issues and has some affiliation with SEIU. This group represents lawyers, clerical, accountants, and auditors, various classifications at the Highway Department and state delivery facilities. This group over the years has been and continues to be outspoken against unfair wasteful outsourcing of traditional state services unlike their counterpart affiliates. Their open comments before the legislature and public shows a reflection of placing concern, care, and compassion for clients and for the very same facilities projected to be closed.

Governor Patrick and those union labor boss allies should show a conscious and have a heart. Stop your exploitation of some of our most vulnerable citizens and families.