From the print version of today’s Herald, although the
website dates it as being posted yesterday (21 hours ago)
Fat Matts pals still taking a toll on us
By Howie Carr | Tuesday, November 6, 2007 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Columnists
Hes baaaaaack - Fat Matt Amorello. Its always nice to bump into an old pal, especially when youre reading a complaint filed by the State Ethics Commission.
Hail, hail, the Fat Matt gangs all here, collecting an extra pile of dough as they departed the Pike trough one step ahead of the posse last year after the Ted Williams tunnel collapse.
An unwarranted privilege of substantial value, as the complaint puts it.
Fat Matts defense is, he never grabbed the extra $75,000 he could still collect, in both cash and to pay off health insurance - not one penny, said the former senators lawyer, who was also former Sen. Billy Bulgers lawyer. Fat Matts reluctance to start spending his ill-gotten gains is understandable - sometimes bank robbers bury their loot until the heats off.
Lets talk about one specific recipient of the unwarranted privilege - deputy chief of staff Keith Shirley, a/k/a Ice Cream Boy, one of Fat Matts most devoted payroll patriots. Under the old system of sick-time payouts, when he was shown the door last year he stood to collect exactly zero - not one penny, to coin a phrase.
But then his mentor Fat Matt scribbled his signature on a piece of paper and viola - Ice Cream Boy could collect $12,567 in unused sick time.
But then, Ice Cream Boys services to Fat Matt warranted another kiss in the mail. Talk about performance above and beyond the call of duty. His primary responsibility during the glory years was going downstairs at 10 Park every afternoon at 3:30 and fetching Fat Matt a frozen chocolate yogurt.
Due to his flawless ability never to mix up chocolate and rainbow jimmies, Ice Cream Boy rose like a rocket in the hackerama, which he joined following a lengthy six-month career in the Dreaded Private Sector after his graduation from Bentley College in 1999.
By the way, Amorello didnt hire Shirley because Shirley was from Worcester County. Fat Matt hired Ice Cream boy because he, Fat Matt, was from Worcester.
Ice Cream Boys first job with Fat Matt at the Highway Department: assistant to the deputy director at $47,620 a year. Then he and Fat Matt migrated to the Pike and Ice Cream Boy became special assistant for $59,809.
Which was quickly followed by a much fancier title: deputy director of asset and business development and financial coordination, $61,992.
Then he became deputy chief of staff for $84,210.88.
And that was his august title when the tiles tumbled in the Ted Williams Tunnel. As Fat Matt was about to be fired, the Pikes sick-time policy was suddenly made much more liberal, in order to give all the coatholders some extra dough. A day before his termination hearing, Fat Matt approved an increase in sick-time payouts from 20 percent of that owed non-union employees to 50 percent.
The change was suggested by a gent named Norman Chalupka, another member of the Worcester gang who was hired, not because he grew up in the town of Grafton, but because Fat Matt grew up in the town of Grafton. Chalupka initially suggested payouts of 100 percent, but Fat Matt realized that even in Massachusetts, that would be considered pulling a Massport.
Marie Hayman, the chief of staff, retired with $58,746 in sick time, $22,000 more than she would have received under the old system. Then there was Mariellen Burns, Fat Matts short-time flack who used to wear camouflage pants to her boss tongue-tied press conferences. She got $4,312 in tollpayers money.
The day after approving the money grab for his hack companions, Fat Matt cut a deal to step down - a plea-bargain, as it were. Three weeks later, Mitt Romneys appointees ended this particular Fat Matt raid on the Turnpike purse.
Much of this was known, but you have to credit the State Ethics Commission for its excellent timing in filing charges. It was just last week, after all, that the Turnpike board voted to jack up the tolls at the Allston and Brighton tolls and at the tunnels yet again, as of Jan. 1.
The board did this after a series of public hearings. You know the old saying, the door is open but the mind is closed.
And then, to add insult to injury, after approving the toll increases, the Pike board decided to appoint a blue-ribbon commission to investigate whether its fair to require drivers on the near North Shore and west of the city to pay for a new road for the South Shore for other drivers who pay no tolls nowhere never.
Your tolls are going up. They tell you its to pay for the infrastructure. They really mean Fat Matt and Ice Cream Boy.
Rumors are swirling that Howie Carr is ready to return to WRKO. Carrs spokesperson Nancy Sterling told me this morning that theres been no change in the situation and that no announcement is forthcoming. But other sources suggest that some kind of resolution might be in the works. Theres some speculation that Carr might agree to return to WRKO in full force if the station waives the last 2 or 3 years from Carrs 5-year contract.
Theres also speculation that Don Imus sidekick Bernard McGuirk may be headed to WRKO as well. Im hearing that McGuirk landing his own show in Boston is a possibility, but a more likely scenario has McGuirk working sidekick to Don Imus on his new show in the short-term. McGuirk hosting his own show may materialize a year or so after that.