Big Government Protecting Itself

The Boston Globe reported yesterday that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has quietly transferred 500 of his managers into the state public employee union. Governor Patrick will be leaving office after the upcoming election and the governorship is expected to be turned over to the Republicans. This move prevents the Republicans from downsizing the Massachusetts bureaucracy. Placing the managers in the state public employee union will also qualify them for a series of 3 percent raises and insulate them from firing when the next governor takes over.

The article reports:

While smaller clusters of management positions have been converted into union positions in the past, this is the largest sweep into the union in at least two decades, according to administration and union officials.

Rolling the managers into the 22,000-member union will effectively protect them from any house-cleaning that might occur when the next governor takes office in January — a particular likelihood if Republican Charlie Baker were to take over after eight years of Democratic leadership.

Union employees generally have to be removed “for cause,” while managers serve at will.

Obviously, this move will make downsizing the Massachusetts state government more difficult for the new governor. It will also increase the cost of state government, although Patrick administration officials have stated that the cost to the state would be “less than $500,000.” When did we reach the point where $500,000 was not significant?