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Flashback to 2009 patronage mess

Jay GonzalezAram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Jay Gonzalez should avoid glass houses as he makes his first entry into politics with a run for governor.

On Wednesday, he pounced on Governor Charlie Baker, accusing him of breaking his 2014 campaign pledge in a Common Cause questionnaire to “root out patronage,” following a Globe story this week about the son of supporters of Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito getting a state government job.

“What is Governor Baker hiding?’’ said Gonzalez, as he tried to pop Baker’s image as an anti-patronage governor. “To win votes, he campaigned on specific promises to end patronage and make government more transparent. In governing, he has broken those promises.”

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But flash back to March 2009, when Gonzalez played a role in one of the great patronage fiascoes in recent times, namely former governor Deval Patrick’s attempt to shoehorn a state senator into a $175,000 job at an agency whose board Patrick controlled.

The Globe caught Patrick aides sharply bending the truth when they claimed the governor’s staff had nothing to do with the Massachusetts Health and Education Facilities Authority’s decision to hire then-Senator Marian Walsh, a West Roxbury Democrat and an early supporter of the governor’s 2006 campaign.

That was contradicted by a series of internal emails showing the opposite. It was being orchestrated by Patrick’s inner circle. And Gonzalez, then senior fiscal adviser to Patrick, was a key player in arranging the job for which Walsh did not have the qualifications. She eventually withdrew her name after several days of blistering headlines.

Neither Baker nor Gonzalez’s staff immediately returned requests for comment.


Frank Phillips can be reached at frank.phillips@globe.com.