What do the governor’s constituents call to talk about?
What do constituents call Governor Charlie Baker’s office to talk about? That, dear reader, is something we may never know.
That’s because the governor’s office has refused to say, and, while the Globe has poked with dutiful journalistic persistence, the administration has declined to turn over a tally of calls, despite our records request.
This mystery began last month amid hullabaloo in the State House after lawmakers voted to raise their own pay by as much as 40 percent.
The raises got attention. Baker said on the radio on Jan. 30 that his office got the single largest number of calls in a single day about the raises.
(The governor later vetoed the raises, but the Legislature overrode the veto and got the money anyway.)
The governor’s remark, however, made us curious. What else do people call the governor about? The MBTA? Traffic at the Braintree split? Donald Trump?
Baker’s office was guarded about the phone calls. “I don’t have aggregates but the [constituent services] office gets calls on a range of issues from the T to the Health Connector,” wrote spokesman Billy Pitman in an email.
A dozen emails later, the Globe had uncovered little more. Pitman said Baker’s office got about 700 calls about the raises, but he would not reveal how many the office receives on other topics, or what topics are most common.
Asked in person, the spokesman said he had no more information.
This made us more curious. What could they possibly be hiding? Was no one calling the governor? Were they all calling about something else we didn’t know about?
Alas, we might never know. The Globe filed a public records request for the information but it was denied.
The governor’s attorney, Cathy M. Judd-Stein, cited the fact that the state’s Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that the governor’s office is not subject to the public records law.
The Globe has appealed the request. Maybe one day we’ll know just how many people care about the fact that the Green Line was late, again.