Another master hack hits pension jackpot
Dave Balfour, come on down!
By Howie Carr | Sunday, November 1, 2009 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Columnists
Admit it: If you had it to do over again, youd become a hack.
Whos in better shape to weather this disastrous economy? You, who work, or David Balfour, who - well, well get to that shortly.
Ah, the life of a hack. No heavy lifting, just hours and hours of Facebook, merit pay raises, COLA pay raises, back pay raises, fake state holidays and no fear - absolutely none - of ever being laid off, because Devals threats are about as credible as his promises to cut property taxes.
And behind it all comes the pension, the kiss in the mail, yet another one of those perks that used to exist in the Dreaded Private Sector and doesnt anymore, just like job security and practically free health insurance.
Which brings us to David Balfour, former boss of the old MDC, which is now the DCR, and still a functioning hackerama. Dave spent three decades in one hack state job or another, passing out vanity license plates and grabbing a confidential one for his personal state-owned SUV. Those were the days my friend . . .
Daves nickname is Red Dog, after the can of cheap beer he was once photographed with. The Dog just put in his papers to retire. Dave is 56 years old.
Red Dogs final stop in the hackerama was at the Turnpike Authority. The Pike confirmed that he has indeed applied to retire from there. They couldnt give me his exact pension last week, because of the fact that the Pike is going out of business, the same way the MDC went out of business (wink wink, nudge nudge) - by changing its name.
I couldnt find a listed phone number for Red Dog in Melrose, where he once ran unsuccessfully for mayor. That was, I believe, right after he applied unsuccessfully to get the clerks position in the Boston Juvenile Court that Jackie Bulger retired from just before he was indicted. That was about the time he was fired from the MDC/DCR by Mitt Romney, after which he was picked up on waivers at the Pike by Fat Matt Amorello, whose foreclosed home is on the auction block in Wenham tomorrow. Red Dog was splashily fired in 2008 to show that the Turnpike meant business about, well, splashy firings.
Do you notice a pattern here? Red Dog always fails - upward. And now hes failed into a pension at age 56. And thats quite a shock to all of us, because we figured he would start collecting on his 55th birthday, at 12:01 a.m., the moment he became eligible.
But lets do the math. Red Dog surely had 30 years in. His top salary at the Pike was $93,000 a year, in his very esteemed position of, drum roll please, director of commuter services.
Im going to guess his three top years averaged $95,000. Then Im going to estimate hes going out at 75 percent of his top three, just under the 80 percent max. Maybe Im underestimating the Dog, but my bet is his pension comes in at just over $70,000 a year.
More, in other words, than Sal DiMasi, and the ex-speakers job involved danger, even if it was only the peril he now faces of going to prison for 185 years.
Regrets? Im sure Red Dog has had a few. Namely, not getting one of his jobs converted to Group 4/public safety. That way he could have retired even earlier at 80 percent, just like the DAs do. Surely he risked it all as MDC commissioner. Do you realize how badly you can cut your finger opening a pop-top can, especially if youve already had a few?
And now Red Dog Balfour rides off into the sunset - in a golf cart, naturally. And by the way, his brother Bob is still on the DOC payroll: director of community services. Made $74,728.85 last year.
Back in 2001, someone sent me an angry all-capital-letters missive: WHEN IS THE BALFOUR FAMILY AND INTIMATE FRIENDS OF THE COMMISSIONER GOING TO STOP MAKING A LIVING OFF US THE POOR TAXPAYERS OF THE COMMONWEALTH?
The short answer is the same as its always been. Never.
Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/columnists/view.bg?articleid=1208719
So, I’m curious, how come Sandy never hosts the show? Didn’t VB used to do it on occasion, even when he was the producer?