“Highway Safety” Director Drives Worse Than a Drunk

There’s a fine line between irony and hypocrisy. Like the marriage counselor who’s been married three times and is divorced, or animal rights groups like PETA who “humanely” kill thousands of animals a year, the latest in such hypocrisy comes out of Massachusetts. The Governor is being called on to fire the “Highway Safety” Director because her driving record is worse than a drunk’s. Her driving record has 34 entries since 1982, and her license was “nonrenewable” until November 1st because of a failure to pay local excise taxes. The Telegram reported:

“Three Republican state representatives from Central Massachusetts yesterday called on Gov. Deval L. Patrick and Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray to fire Sheila Burgess, the state’s highway safety director, whom The Boston Globe reported has a driving record that includes seven accidents, four speeding violations, and two failures to stop for a police officer.”

 Seven accidents? And hey, I don’t like getting pulled over either, but failure to stop for a police officer? Maybe she was drunk. In any case, what is this kind of person doing acting as the head of the highway safety department? In her most recent accident in August, she collided with a boulder and sustained minor head injuries. She told police that she had to swerve to avoid an oncoming vehicle.

It turns out she was only in that position because of political favors. She used to work as a fundraiser for U.S. Congressman James McGovern, a Democrat from Worcester, and she also was a principal in a firm that worked for Massachusetts’ current Democratic governor Patrick when he was a candidate for mayor about 10 years ago. For this reason, the three Republican state representatives are also calling on the House Committee on Post Audit and Oversight to investigate the Governor’s administration for patronage.

It doesn’t look like Ms. Burgess will be fired though; only reassigned in the same department. The public safety department is still trying to “evaluate the situation to see exactly where she might fit in.”

Why not fire her and replace her with someone more qualified? Most private sector job positions that involve driving require impeccable driving records, but evidently not government jobs. Unqualified friends get hired, and those that are actually qualified get turned down.

Ms. Burgess was making a salary of $87,000 plus benefits. One of the Republican lawmakers calling for her termination Ryan Fattman (he’s not actually fat) stated:

 “That’s the problem with ‘Taxachusetts.’ The money is not going to things like local aid. Instead it’s going to fund the friends and allies of those in elective office. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or Democrat, it’s just wrong.”