Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Romney Down an Endorsement Already

The gubernatorial election is eighteen months away, and already Mitt Romney has lost the only union endorsement he had from 2002. According to last week's Globe, the State Police Association of Massachusetts -- who not only endorsed Romney in 2002, but also George Bush in 2004 and his father in 1988 -- has "parted ways" with the governor after 18 months of failed contract talks with the administration. The union had an interesting way of getting the normally disinterested governor's attention. From the article:

[Union president John] Coflesky said the administration didn't offer a contract until last month, after the union rented billboard space on the route that Romney uses to commute to the State House that said "Call John Coflesky."
Apparently that caused Romney to look up from scanning for his name in out-of-town newspapers long enough to offer the state police a contract that Coflesky deemed "mean-spirited." Perhaps if it were the New Hampshire state police, the governor might have been willing to make a better offer.

On the other side of the aisle, the Senate Democrats are taking advantage of the situation by coming down on the side of the union. In the Senate's budget, an item was inserted that would require the administration to enter arbitration talks with the union -- something that the union hasn't been able to do in over a decade. Again, from the Globe article:
The Senate moved this week to further erode the administration's negotiating position. On Monday, Senator Jarrett T. Barrios, a Cambridge Democrat, sponsored a budget amendment that would widen the scope of arbitration talks to include topics such as promotions, assignments, and trooper transfers, topics that by law are off the table.
This, of course, has implications in the Middlesex County DA's race. Because of his help in pushing for increased abritration rights, the union endorsed Jarrett Barrios for district attorney. This underscores the difficulty that a candidate like Gerry Leone is going to have in this race. While he is one of the most qualified candidates at this point, he is at a disadvantage compared to candidates like Barrios, Mike Festa, Peter Kotoujian and Charlie Murphy who are in positions to help people and groups out in exchange for support.