Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My day at City Hall and the State House--Susan Iannela won the nationwide search for the Boston Licensing Board

I read the FBI indictment of Dianne Wilkerson which shows how the Mayor, the City Council, the legislature, the BRA, the licensing board, etc. do business out of the public eye with "smoke and mirrors" as Diane describes it.

So, I decided to go pay my taxes at City Hall and ask some questions of my government.

I first went to the large gentleman on the 3rd floor reception desk and asked "Where do I go to payoff someone to get a liquor license?" He replied without moving, "Room 809". Who knew it was so easy, I guess you just have to ask!

I first went to pay my taxes, giving the city $7000 or so of my money. I don't think I gave them any money that the FBI had written down the serial numbers of.

Then I went down to the postings board for City meetings. I have been dealing with City Council President Feeney's office for around 3 weeks asking them to take down a sign that says that the Rules Committee will meet whenever and wherever they want. My feeling is that posting is a violation of the Open Meeting Law and I had asked Justin Holmes in her office to take it down. When I went downstairs to the first floor the posting was still there.

I went up to the fifth floor and asked to speak with Mr. Holmes. We had never met, and he was very pleasant. He apologized for not sending me the cover letter of the Walkowski report which he had told me he would send me two weeks, he said he just forgot and that he would get it to me. He said they weren't going to do anything about the notice on the board and that I should speak to the Clerk's office.

Finding no satisfaction there, I asked to see someone from Councilor Yoon's office, the voice of transparency on the council. A nice gentleman went down to look at the notice with me and didn't really identify any problems with it.

Back up on the fifth floor I asked him to see if Sam could take it down, and let him know that if it wasn't down by tomorrow I would probably file for a motion for contempt. John Tobin came by and joined the conversation and I let him know my concerns about the posting as well.

I then went to the Mayor's office and asked if they knew who appointed the Boston Licensing Commission? They didn't know but they directed me up to Room 809, where I then proceeded. I was interested in the Licensing Commission because they were the group that granted a liquor license for Dianne Wilkerson's FBI sting informant, and clearly they could do all sorts of malleable things for politically connected people. I wanted to know who was responsible for appointing such public servants.

A nice lady at the licensing commission told me that the Governor appoints the 3 members of the commission. She told me that Romney had appointed the current people but that one person had died recently so there were only two on the commission: Connolly (Councilor John's Dad) and Mr. Pukaski.

I thought "hey, what a great job for me!" so I said "how do I apply for the job and what are the qualifications?" They said someone new should be appointed soon, but they didn't know what the qualifications are and that I would have to ask the Governor.

So I went to the State House to see the Governor. At his office a State Trooper stopped me and asked what I wanted. I told him I'd like to apply for an appointment and set up a meeting with Mr. Patrick. He took one look at me and said "that ain't gonna happen" (I love how the servants of the people judge a book by its cover) before sending me to another office where I could write a letter asking for an appointment.

I went to the office of constituent services where I waited at the reception desk for about 5 minutes and no one came out. I went toward the back office where I heard numerous voices, one of which was saying jokingly "we are going to have start giving 'Dianne Wilkerson' tours of the State House". As I walked through the doorway into the room, a number of bright young eager faces looked over and the man who was speaking asked if he could help me. Without skipping a beat I said "I'm here for the Dianne Wilkerson tour." I got a few smiles, but clearly he was unhappy to be caught in an inappropriate comment. He escorted me back to the reception area where I told him I wanted to set up an appointment with the Gov, and apply for a position he appoints.

He wrote down the address I need to send a letter asking for a meeting, and the address of the Appointment's Office. I asked how I could find out what the requirements were for the job, and he gave me a card with a phone number. I asked why I couldn't just go back and talk to them and he said they were in a meeting. So, I picked up the phone and called the number and got transferred to the Appointment's person. I said I was interested in the Open position for the Licensing Board, she responded that there was no opening and I said I was just at the Licensing Board and they told me there was an opening. She said they had appointed Susan Iannella back in September.

I wonder when they are going to let the Licensing Board know? I don't even go looking for this stuff, all I wanted to know was who was responsible for appointing people who could so corruptly rig the process on behalf of felon Dianne Wilkerson. What we find is laziness? incompetence? I don't know, but it seems odd that a layperson can find out in 5 minutes that someone has been appointed to a board a month ago when the board doesn't even know?

Yet another example of why I'm not impressed with the efficiency and organization at City Hall.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to know how Ianella, who just happens to be from a very political family, was chosen to approve extremely valuable liquor licenses. Was there a notice process? Job description? Interviews? Votes of a committee?

Deval Patrick ran on a promise of transparency and accountability. He should be glad to provide this information. Let's call his office!

And how much will she be paid to sit on that board?

Michael Pahre said...

Priceless story about appointment of Ianella!

I wonder if Patrick's appointment to the BLB (Boston Licensing Board) has to be approved by some other body, such as the Governor's Council, prior to it taking effect? Worth checking.