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People might be wondering why I can’t seem to type the name Rourke in City Council posts, without adding Golden as a suffix. Well, one reason is because of things like this: someone sent me this link as regards to Pay-to-Play…
If you don’t recall what Pay to Play was, it was the Probation Department scandal, as the link explains:
More than 250 employees of the Probation Department have personal connections to politicians and court officials, or gave at least $500 to state legislators since 2002, a Spotlight analysis has shown. On Thursday, Independent Counsel Paul F. Ware Jr. found that suspended Probation Commissioner John J. O’Brien systematically hired and promoted politically-backed job candidates, against whom job candidates without connections had little hope.
O’Brien was fired, and he and others from Probation now face charges including racketeering. With the trial still to come, it might be said that more explosive testimony might be forthcoming. Remember also, as an aside, that former Senator Panagiotakos announced in March 2010 he would not run for reelection to the state Senate, just ahead of being named in the report about Probation. I’m not saying there is definitely a link, but it does seem odd…especially an announcement so late in an election year, giving prospective candidates only 6 months to scramble a campaign together for the primaries in a large state Senate-wide district.
So anyway, back to the original link. If you do a search on that page for either Rourke or Golden, they each come up once on that page. On the same line.
|Daniel P. Rourke||Assistant Chief Probation Officer, Concord District Court||$67,355||$600||Rep. Thomas Golden ($600), D-Lowell|
Now, I will let you infer what you want from this listing. However, one could posit that what we have here might be less pay to play…and more like nepotism. Take your pick as to which is worse. I mean, Rourke’s closeness to his cousin Golden is well known. I certainly believe that Rourke would give Golden $600 in legal campaign donations since 2002 because he wants his cousin to win elections (notwithstanding the lack of any competition, which I decry as I do not believe incumbents should automatically get reelected). And we could imagine that Golden might want to get his cousin Danny Rourke, his good friend and family member, a job at Probation because he likes his cousin and wants to give him a leg up in the world.
However, such a circumstance would also be as prohibited as pay-to-play. Alas, such conflicts of interest abound in Lowell, at the city level and all the way up…an atmosphere of permissiveness in putting personal loyalty above ethics that I have long written about - indeed, that I began this blog to combat.
One last item of note: Jack reported, and I have confirmed as well, that at a Rourke fundraiser, Golden stood up and introduced John Cox as “OUR City Manager!” I don’t make this stuff up!
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