Chip Ford's CLT Commentary
So which is it? Does the President of the
Senate have his ducks lined up in a row waddling in lockstep -- or does
As the presiding officer of a Constitutional
Convention, can state Senate President Travaglini influence a simple
up-or-down vote mandated by the state Constitution -- now stipulated
by all parties concerned -- or is he being "disingenuous" in one of
his assertions, or in the other?
Which is it?
Even the state-obliged attorney for the defense,
Assistant Attorney General Peter Sacks, defending both plaintiffs the
senate president and Secretary of State William Galvin, has surprisingly
conceded "that the Legislature is required to vote on citizen-sponsored
initiative amendments," according to the State House News Service and
those present at the state Supreme Judicial Court hearing yesterday --
including CLT Associate Director Chip Faulkner. That's a
stipulation, a given, an accepted fact of law by both parties involved
in the case.
[View the actual SJC oral arguments by
Nobody's arguing that it isn't, even at the outset.
What the plaintiffs are seeking -- the petition amendment's sponsors and
the 170,000 Massachusetts voters who signed it -- is, dare I say,
impartial justice, "redress of their grievances." They want simple
justice, a remedy delivered from the state's highest court to a
Legislature that thus far feels itself above the rule of law and immune
from obligation. An obligation to both the Constitution and their
oaths of office:
"I, ____, do solemnly swear, that I will bear true
faith and allegiance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and will
support the constitution thereof. So help me God."
The "Separation of Powers" argument should not be a
roadblock for the SJC, or even a speed bump. This is why the
brilliance of the Founding Fathers created three separate but equal
branches of government: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.
The highest court's duty from time to time is to sort those out, keep
each elected official and the branch he or she represents honest and
within constitutional propriety. Its duty is to limit them to exercising
only the powers temporarily delegated while they hold office and to hold them
responsible for the oath that each took to "support the constitution thereof."
The court's duty is to protect citizens from arbitrary, capricious, and extra-constitutional abuse by any
branch or official.
I see this as the state Supreme Judicial Court's primary
responsibility and highest purpose; for without a constitution there
would be no legitimate laws. Before there was a constitution, there were
only laws decreed by a sovereign king in a distant land executed by his minions.
It was the constitution which created this government of the people, which only then
began creating laws under which citizens agreed to be justly governed.
When the very constitution itself is violated without consequence, simply
ignored, government abuse is boundless.
Legislative abuse is now starkly apparent. It has
been for far too long and the arrogance of that branch is growing.
The court must do its duty as arbiter, or we citizens have all
lost, regardless of our political bent. Otherwise, just call us
what we are quickly becoming: Subjects of the Commonwealth;
through apathy our former rights forsaken.
State House News Service
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Voting requirements argued in Gay Marriage case,
as final convention nears
By Priscilla Yeon
An assistant attorney general representing the Commonwealth told the
Supreme Judicial Court today that the Legislature is required to vote on
citizen-sponsored initiative amendments, including a pending one banning
gay marriage. However, there is nothing the court can do to force
legislators to follow their constitutional obligations if they choose
not to vote, the attorney said.
At a hearing this morning on a gay marriage lawsuit brought by Gov. Mitt
Romney and 10 other citizens, Assistant Attorney General Peter Sacks
argued the law does not allow the court to impose a "judicial remedy"
against the defendants -- Senate President Robert Travaglini and
Secretary of State William Galvin -- if the Legislature decides early
next month to end the 2005-2006 Constitutional Convention without voting
on the marriage amendment.
The amendment is a citizen-petition signed by 170,000 residents who are
proposing to define marriage as between one man and one woman only.
Same-sex marriage here became legal in 2004 following a 2003 SJC
John Hanify, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said it was the
first time he had heard the attorney generalís office agree that the
Legislature is required to vote on initiative petitions.
"In earlier cases the attorney general has taken a position that final
action doesnít mean final action as we had expressed in our papers,
meaning they would have to vote. So he is now taking the position that
it means what we say it means but that weíre just out of luck," Hanify
told reporters after the hearing.
In court, Hanify, with all seven justices present, asked the SJC to
"make it clear" to legislators that they have to follow their
constitutional obligation, which he said he interpreted as requiring
lawmakers to take a vote on the gay marriage petition in the next joint
session on Jan. 2.
"I hope this court will do it to avoid the ambiguity that legislators
have made in public statements," said Hanify.
But justices questioned if they could define a constitutional obligation
based on an "ambiguous" part of the constitution.
Hanify said it is not clear from past cases what the Legislatureís
affirmative obligations are during joint sessions.
"What has comes through in the cases, with all due respect, is an
emerging and overwhelming sense of judicial restraint which I think has
been appropriate until now," said Hanify.
"Thatís one way to describe it, the other way to describe it is genuine
ambiguity in the words of the constitution," said Margaret Marshall, the
chief justice who authored the 2003 court decisions legalizing same-sex
The plaintiffs want the high court to force legislators to vote on the
gay marriage amendment on Jan. 2 or order that the question be placed on
the ballot in the next general election. The lawsuit comes after the
Legislatureís decision in November, by a 109-87 vote, to recess the
Constitutional Convention until January 2, without taking a vote on the
amendment. Previous conventions have also been recessed without a vote
on the proposal.
Romney, a potential GOP presidential candidate who has emphasized his
conservative stands more eloquently this year, condemned the 109
lawmakers, saying they violated their oath of office by not taking a
vote on the petition.
Asking him to point to language in the law, Marshall and Justice Francis
Spina asked Hanify if it would be "unconstitutional" if [the]
Legislature voted to table the decision on January 2. Hanify replied: "I
donít think it says that."
Hanify said Travaglini should serve as a "notice giver" to the members
the Legislature to make sure they all understand their "duties" when
they return to the Constitutional Convention.
"I donít think our petition nor our brief suggests that he (Senate
President) can force a vote by anybody. We recognize the rules and how
they will apply, regrettably," said Hanify.
Travaglini voted against recessing the early November convention just
before the gay marriage question, which requires only 50 votes to
advance, was due to come up for a potential vote.
Last month, Travaglini, during an interview on "Greater Boston," said he
expected parliamentary maneuvers to continue January 2 from gay marriage
supporters. "I personally believe that we should take a final vote on
this issue one way or the other," Travaglini said. "But I need to get
101 people to agree with me that this is the right way to go."
Travaglini said some people are mistakenly under the impression that he
has the power to force an up-or-down vote on the question, a decision
that he says is up to the members of the House and Senate voting
jointly. "They can engage in a number of parliamentary maneuvers and
they will. This is what people donít understand," Travaglini said of gay
marriage supporters, including Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, who worked hard
to line up the votes to recess the convention without voting on the
marriage petition. Travaglini added: "Itís about fairness. Itís about
decency. Itís about diplomacy and itís about the full discussion of a
very intensely personal issue that ... should be voted on by the
Gay marriage supporters, who have claimed that any procedural tactics
are worth it to prevent marriage rights from being put to a popular
vote, celebrated loudly after the November vote to recess.
In court today, Sacks said the court can make the law clear, but it
cannot enter in any "declaratory or writ of mandamus relief" to require
legislators to vote on the amendment.
Justices then asked Sacks what kind of remedies the petitioners who
signed the citizen-initiative could pursue, Sacks said the "ballot box,"
which would mean electing legislators who are in favor taking up the
vote to replace lawmakers who are "violating" the process, was the only
Lee Swislow, executive director of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and
Defenders, said there is "nothing new judicially" that happened today.
"Whatís important is that the Legislature is doing exactly what it
should be doing," said Swislow. "They are voting their conscience and
they are doing what they think is right."
Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, said that
Massachusetts is in "constitutional crisis" citing initiatives petitions
have been in place for the last 80 years and claiming that for the past
20 years the Legislature has not followed its constitutional
He said he hopes SJC issues a decision before Jan. 2 and reaffirms its
previous decision that the Legislature is obligated to vote.
"I think that itís very difficult to judge what a court would do based
on the questions asked in an oral argument," said Hanify after the
The Boston Globe
Friday, December 15, 2006
Travaglini publicly rebukes Patrick
Warns governor-elect to work with Legislature
By Andrea Estes and Frank Phillips, Globe Staff
Senate President Robert E. Travaglini yesterday publicly scolded
incoming governor Deval Patrick, telling a breakfast audience that he
had warned Patrick to cooperate with the Legislature or Travaglini would
withdraw support for Patrick's agenda.
In remarks that shocked some in the audience, the Senate president said
that he wants to work with the governor-elect, but he strongly suggested
that if things don't go well, the Senate will block Patrick's
According to the notes of one audience member, Travaglini said: "I told
the governor-elect, if you're willing to share and you care and you
prepare and are ready to deliver, then everything will work out. If not,
I have senators across the state who share my vision and my approach and
if forced to choose, I'm comfortable with whom they'll choose."
The remarks were confirmed by five people, who gave similar accounts of
his statements, but did not want to be quoted by name. Travaglini
spokeswoman Ann Dufresne did not return repeated phone calls seeking a
Delivered before roughly 300 people at a meeting of the National
Association of Industrial and Office Properties, the remarks were the
first public sign of a fissure between the Democrat-run Legislature and
Patrick, who ran aggressively against the Beacon Hill culture during his
Travaglini's unexpected rebuke of Patrick breaks the public image of
unity that the legislative leadership and the governor-elect have been
displaying since the November election.
"I think that most people were surprised by how candid he was," said
David I. Begelfer, chief executive of the association.
"Eyes were wide open all over the room," added a lawyer who attended the
event, "People were shocked by the tone and the force with which he made
Travaglini was at the event, held at the Hyatt Hotel, to receive an
award for his work on a bill streamlining permitting for development
projects. A Boston Redevelopment Authority official also made a
presentation about the 1,000-foot office tower proposed on the site of a
The audience members who described Travaglini's remarks said they
appeared to be designed to dispel the idea that because Democrats will
control the House, the Senate, and the governor's office next year, the
state will return to lavish spending.
To make the point, Travaglini highlighted the differences between him,
House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi, and Patrick, saying that, "like the
Velcro brothers, we're stuck with each other for better or worse,"
according to the audience members.
The audience members also reported that Travaglini said Patrick
downplayed his promise to slash waste in the budget, though yesterday
Patrick's office insisted he stood firmly by his vow to cut inefficient
Travaglini said that in recent discussions with Patrick, he warned the
governor-elect to stop making public promises to cut $1 billion in
The Senate president said he told Patrick that the pledge insults the
Legislature. If there is that much bloat in the budget, Travaglini said,
then he hasn't been doing his job.
Patrick has repeatedly said he can find $735 million in wasteful
spending in the yearly budget. According to audience members, Travaglini
said when he objected to the figure, Patrick backed off and said he
didn't really mean it.
Travaglini said he told him: "If you don't mean it, you shouldn't say
it," according to several people who attended the breakfast. Travaglini
said he told Patrick that he needs to stop campaigning and begin
Asked about the Senate president's remarks yesterday, Patrick issued a
statement reiterating his position that there is waste in state
government that must be eliminated.
"Governor-elect Patrick strongly believes that there are efficiencies in
government that can and must be achieved, and he has tasked
administration and finance secretary appointee Leslie Kirwan with
performing a top-to-bottom review of the current budget to begin to
identify them," said spokeswoman Cyndi Roy.
But she refused to comment on Travaglini's reported descriptions of his
discussions with Patrick, saying: "Conversations between the Senate
president and the governor-elect were private. We will continue to keep
For Patrick, a good relationship with the Senate president will be
critical to his success as he looks to deliver on campaign promises such
as adding 1,000 new police officers, which he reiterated yesterday at a
Travaglini's remarks were a sharp departure from his exuberance on
election day, when he expressed excitement about Patrick's sweeping
victory and said it has changed his thinking about leaving the Senate.
"This is a great opportunity for the Democratic Party and I'm excited
about it," he said in an interview that day. Travaglini had been talking
about giving up his seat, but said he wanted to stay so the Senate, the
House, and Patrick could work collaboratively on an ambitious
It was unclear what prompted the change of tone.
Travaglini, of East Boston, has expressed frustration over Patrick's
appointment of Kirwan as administration and finance secretary, according
to two Beacon Hill officials. Travaglini clashed with Kirwan, currently
finance director of the Massachusetts Port Authority, over the
relationship between the authority and the communities in his district.
Travaglini's close friend, Boston lawyer James Aloisi, is being
considered by Patrick for secretary of transportation. Patrick is facing
increasing pressure from Aloisi's opponents because of his longtime
involvement in the Big Dig project, of which Patrick has been critical.
Aloisi was at the center of many of the decisions involving the $14.6
The other two finalists are said to be Stephanie Pollack, cochairwoman
of Patrick's working group on transportation, and Joseph Aiello, who is
also a member of that group.
Legislators have also been concerned that Patrick may move to cut
earmarks, money that is directed by legislators to local projects. "They
are not pork," DiMasi said earlier this week. "They are legislators'
The Boston Globe
Thursday, December 21, 2006
SJC role in gay marriage vote argued
Plaintiffs want legislators guided
By Jonathan Saltzman and Andrew Ryan
Both sides in a legal battle over a proposed ballot initiative to ban
gay marriage acknowledged yesterday that the Supreme Judicial Court
cannot force the Legislature to vote on whether to put it on the ballot.
The lawyer representing the president of the state Senate told the seven
justices in oral arguments that if the Legislature fails to act before
the session ends Jan. 2, the people's only recourse is to vote for
different legislators in the next election.
"Our position is that judicial relief is not available," even though
architects of the state ballot initiative process intended lawmakers to
bring such measures to a vote, said Assistant Attorney General Peter
Sacks, who defended Senate President Robert E. Travaglini and Secretary
of State William F. Galvin in the lawsuit.
The suit, spearheaded by Governor Mitt Romney, charges that legislators
subverted the state constitution Nov. 9 when they met as a
constitutional convention and took no action on the voter-initiative
petition. The Legislature voted, 109 to 87, to recess before deciding
whether to put the amendment on the 2008 ballot.
John D. Hanify, a lawyer representing Romney as a private citizen and 10
other plaintiffs, also conceded that the court could not force the
Legislature to take a vote, but said the justices could pressure
lawmakers to act by spelling out the intentions of the constitutional
provision that permits citizen initiatives.
"We're not asking you to tell the Legislature how to do their business,"
he told the court. "We're only asking you to declare what their
constitutional obligations are."
He called the recess an obvious and calculated ploy by the Legislature
to duck the issue.
Supporters of the ballot measure want a decision before the legislative
session ends, but the court, which legalized gay marriage beginning in
May 2004, did not say when it will rule.
Backers of the proposed constitutional amendment collected 170,000
signatures to get the measure on the ballot in 2008. To qualify for a
statewide referendum, a measure needs the support of at least 50
legislators in two consecutive sessions. Instead of acting on the
measure, the Legislature moved to recess the joint session until Jan. 2.
In a radio interview yesterday on WBUR, Travaglini, who was among the 87
legislators who voted against a recess, said the amendment should be
brought to a vote. "I do believe ... in my own personal and political
professional view, that a vote is the appropriate action to take on the
measure, one way or the other," he said.
Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute and a
supporter of the ban, said yesterday that he hoped the court will
resolve what he called a "constitutional crisis."
But Lee Swislow, executive director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates &
Defenders, said legislators who recessed were "very brave about not
allowing this discriminatory amendment to go forward."
The Committee for Health Care for Massachusetts filed a brief siding
with backers of the marriage ban, saying the convention recessed without
taking action on an initiative to guarantee affordable health coverage.
The Boston Herald
Thursday, December 21, 2006
A Boston Herald editorial
SJC can tell íem the law matters
Voters know and clearly the justices of the Supreme Judicial Court know
that the Legislature has shirked its constitutional duty to vote on the
anti-gay marriage petition. And lawmakers have given every indication
they will continue to do so.
But what can the SJC do?
If there is no judicial remedy -- especially given the strong separation
of powers clause of the Massachusetts Constitution -- what role is left
for the court?
Well, as Chief Justice Margaret Marshall said at yesterdayís hearing on
the case, "Certainly itís the duty of the court to clarify what the
It is indeed. And perhaps thatís the best the petitioners in this case
-- those who want to put on the ballot a constitutional amendment to ban
same-sex marriages -- can hope for.
Time and again on a variety of issues legislators have shirked their
constitutional duty to do what they were sent to Beacon Hill to do -- to
vote. Up or down, it doesnít matter. But these profiles in courage canít
even do that.
Sure, itís a simple thing to repeat the truism, as Assistant Attorney
General Peter Sacks (representing the Senate president) did, that the
only real remedy is at the ballot box. That when legislators donít
fairly represent their constituents, it remains for voters to vote them
out. But in practical terms we all know that rarely happens.
And surely the court should do something other than throwing up its
hands and saying "Hey, youíre right, but itís not our problem." The
result, as Justice Martha Sosman indicated, would be that "the
Constitution will continue to be violated."
A ban on gay marriage isnít the only issue the Legislature ducked before
recessing until Jan. 2, the day before the 2006 session is due to end.
They also failed to vote on an initiative petition on universal health
care. That is being heard as a separate case in which supporters are
asking the court to "deem" the petition approved in the absence of a
vote and order the secretary of state to put it on the 2008 ballot.
It would be delightful to imagine the court sending out marshals to
round up lawmakers and giving them a police escort back to the State
House. But that only happens in Texas. And then what? It canít force a
The court has only one real weapon at its disposal right now -- the
ability to tell legislators what their duty under the Constitution is.
Because given their current behavior clearly they have forgotten that.
State House News Service
Friday, December 15, 2006
Senate-president, governor-elect patch things up
By Jim OíSullivan
In an abrupt about-face, Senate President Robert Travaglini tried Friday
to atone for opening a rift with Gov.-elect Deval Patrick, claiming he
"misspoke" Thursday when he told an audience that the Senate would pull
its support for Patrickís agenda if the outsider tries to muscle the
"I misspoke. What I did was make public a conversation that was private
between the governor and I and made public some of those details, and I
donít think that was appropriate to do," Travaglini said as he and
Patrick stood in the State House press room Friday afternoon.
Travagliniís Thursday comments made front-page news in the Boston Globe,
which relayed audience membersí recollections that had the East Boston
Democrat saying, "I told the governor-elect, if you're willing to share
and you care and you prepare and are ready to deliver, then everything
will work out. If not, I have senators across the state who share my
vision and my approach and if forced to choose, I'm comfortable with
whom they'll choose."
The unusual and hastily arranged press availability underscored the
efforts both leaders are making to project harmony as Patrick prepares
to succeed Gov. Mitt Romney next month. The pair embraced after
Travaglini told reporters, "I wanted to demonstrate that the
relationship that Deval and I have is significant, it means an awful lot
to me and Iím committed, along with the members of the Senate, to
helping him off, to get off to a good start, and to make sure that we
partner in the agenda of the administration and to be helpful and the
article this morning ran counter to that, so I wanted to make sure that
we got this back on track."
Asked if he agreed with any of Travagliniís critiques aired Thursday,
Patrick replied, "Wait for the legislative agenda."
Travaglini said their appearance was motivated by his fear that a rift
between the two could be perceived. "I wanted to make sure we got this
back on track," he told reporters.
He said, "The relationship between Deval and I is important not only to
he and I, but to everyone who resides in the Commonwealth of
Patrick said, "This is my friend and my new partner and we are looking
forward to and are starting on building a very strong relationship."
Patrick and Travaglini said theyíd spoken twice Thursday, after they
learned Travagliniís comments would become widely known. Lightly
punching Travaglini on the arm, Patrick quipped Friday, "Are you ever
going to be that contrite again?"
The pair emerged from Travagliniís office at 3 pm and strolled up to the
fourth-floor press gallery, an unusual joint visit to an informal
setting. Travaglini said such a gesture marked a first for him.
Since even before Patrick last month became the first Democrat elected
governor in 20 years, speculation has abounded on Beacon Hill about how
Travaglini and House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi would handle a chief
executive from their own party. With the legislative GOP largely a
non-factor for the last several years, a string of Republican governors
has provided the counterweight to Democratic power brokers.
With much of his electoral appeal flowing from his image as a fresh
face, Patrick campaigned on a platform of slashing $735 million in
wasteful state spending, and said during the race, "We must confront the
Big Dig culture on Beacon Hill, which is one of neglect and inaction."
Trying to downplay the dislocation-of-power storyline, Patrick,
Travaglini and DiMasi met privately in Travagliniís office six days
after the election, but did not speak publicly together.
DiMasi, who was in Amherst speaking at an orientation for freshman
legislators, was not invited to Fridayís joint appearance, his spokesman
Kyle Sullivan said.
DiMasi is the Beacon Hill figure best known for hugs, his embraces a
frequent reminder of his public affability. "Under my speakership,
there's going to be a lot of hugging," he said when he was elected House
leader in 2004.
Travaglini and DiMasi, a North End Democrat whose House seat sits
partially in Travagliniís Senate district, have suffered through their
own feuds, most notably during the formulation of a major health care
reform bill that consumed much of the soon-to-end legislative session.
Both legislative leaders publicly backed Attorney General Thomas Reilly
during the Democratic primary, though DiMasi at the party convention
helped venture capitalist Christopher Gabrieli onto the ballot. After
the September primary, both announced support for Patrick.
Senators said Travagliniís admissions on Friday didnít surprise them,
and they said no fissure has yet occurred between the Senate and
"Every governor gets a honeymoon, so thereís a period of time in which
you have to get used to peopleís styles," said Sen. Michael Morrissey
(D-Quincy). "In this case, Deval Patrick has to get used to the Senate
presidentís style, and the Senate president has to get used to him.
Nothing more, nothing less."
"I know Travís as easy to get along with as anybody, and I think heís
eager to get to work with Deval Patrick in January, and I donít know
anything other than that," said Sen. Jack Hart, a South Boston Democrat
and Travaglini ally.
The short walk from Travagliniís third floor office suite ended with
surprised reporters looking up to find Patrick and Travaglini entering,
and Patrick sampling coffee cake open on a desk. Prominently displayed
in the press room is a bumper sticker reading, "Free íem All Deval," a
vestige of Lt. Gov. Kerry Healeyís campaign efforts to paint Patrick as
soft on crime.
"I wanted to demonstrate that the relationship that Deval and I have is
significant, it means an awful lot to me and Iím committed, along with
the members of the Senate, to helping him off, to get off to a good
start, and to make sure that we partner in the agenda of the
administration and to be helpful and the article this morning ran
counter to that, so I wanted to make sure that we got this back on
Later, after Travaglini said he found the Globe article inaccurate,
Patrick joked to him, "Donít fight the press."
Patrick last month told newspaper executives that many of their
newsrooms "didnít get it" during their election coverage, saying they
had missed the essential optimism and appeal of his candidacy.
The Boston Globe
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Travaglini backs off tough talk on Patrick
Senate leader offers apology
By Andrea Estes, Globe Staff
Senate President Robert E. Travaglini apologized yesterday for publicly
criticizing Deval Patrick, saying he "misspoke" at a breakfast a day
earlier when he scolded the incoming governor for blaming the
Legislature for wasteful spending and threatened to withhold support for
Patrick's legislative agenda.
Travaglini appeared briefly with the governor-elect yesterday afternoon
at a hastily called press conference at the State House, where Patrick
accepted the apology and said he was not offended by the Senate
"Are you ever going to be that contrite again?" joked Patrick.
"It's certainly not consistent with my character," the East Boston
Democrat shot back with a smile.
Travaglini did not explain what he had intended to say, only that he had
"What I did was make public a conversation that was private, between the
governor and I, and make public some of those details, and I don't think
that was appropriate to do," Travaglini said. "We're going to have
differences, but I think I've demonstrated in the four years I've been
president that conflict isn't part of our arsenal. We like to
compromise.... What happened yesterday does not fit in that mold."
Travaglini said that the state Senate is "standing ready to partner with
the new administration."
The public appearance followed a private apology the day before. The
Senate president called Patrick Thursday evening to warn him that the
Globe was preparing a story about his comments earlier in the day, a
source close to Travaglini said. The two spoke again yesterday and
agreed to appear together in a show of unity.
"The relationship between Deval and I is important not only to he and I,
but to everyone who resides in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,"
Travaglini said. "And to that end, we thought it appropriate to
demonstrate quickly that the relationship is strong, is respectful, is
professional, and is ready to engage in the issues of the day."
His appearance with Patrick was a rare event on Beacon Hill. Political
figures at the State House almost never apologize for their sharp
comments or attacks on their colleagues, let alone stand with them
before the media to make their mea culpas.
The Globe reported yesterday that Travaglini had stunned several people
among hundreds attending a breakfast meeting of the National Association
of Commercial and Industrial and Office Properties when he recounted
criticism he had leveled at Patrick in recent private conversations.
According to several people who attended the event, Travaglini said he
had chided Patrick for pledging to cut nearly a $1 billion of waste from
the state government, saying it was an insult to the Legislature.
Travaglini told the group that Patrick backed off the pledge, saying he
had not really mean it. Travaglini said he then told Patrick, "If you
don't mean it, you shouldn't say it," according to several people who
were at the breakfast.
At the breakfast meeting, Travaglini also said he had told Patrick that
he hoped to work with the governor-elect, who he predicted will do a
good job. But, he said, he warned Patrick that if he didn't cooperate
with the Senate, his efforts would be thwarted.
"I told the governor-elect, if you're willing to share and you care and
you prepare and are ready to deliver, then everything will work out. If
not, I have senators across the state who share my vision and my
approach, and, if forced to choose, I'm comfortable with whom they'll
choose," according to the notes of one audience member.
Yesterday, after Travaglini's about-face, Patrick was conciliatory,
calling Travaglini "my friend and my new partner.
"We are looking forward to and have started building a very strong
relationship," Patrick said. "We are going to have conversations from
time to time that are private and where there are differences. But I've
said before and we've said to each other -- not every difference is a
controversy. We don't have any significant differences today. What we've
been doing is trying to work through our respective ... legislative
agendas and, as much as possible, get on the same page from the start."
Despite Travaglini's account that Patrick had told him in their private
meetings that he had not meant to say he could cut government waste, the
governor-elect made the pledge again yesterday, although he did not
blame the Legislature for failing to come up with its own cuts.
"Let me be clear," Patrick said. "I believe and have believed that there
are efficiencies that can be gained in state government. That's the
Executive Branch and that's the job of every successful organization ...
to have a culture of constant improvement. That's what I want to bring
to state government. Some of that is happening now. I want to bring a
pair of fresh eyes."
For Patrick, good relationships with the Senate president and the
speaker of the House are key as he tries to deliver on his promises.
Senators, especially those who supported Patrick, are also hoping for
harmony between the Democrat- controlled Legislature and the state's
first Democratic governor in 16 years.
"Kumbaya," said state Senator Jarrett T. Barrios, Democrat of Cambridge.
"It's fair to say the Senate president and indeed the entire Senate
shares so many of the incoming governor's values that we're all
extraordinarily excited about Jan. 4. Most of us have never served in
the Legislature with a Democratic governor. We're all figuring out what
that means. We're fortunate enough to have a gracious leader in our
Senate president to help guide us in these new times."
Senator Jack Hart of South Boston praised Travaglini for acknowledging
"He demonstrated to me what a big man he is, and it's why I love him,"
Hart said. "Others might have let it fester and beat their chest and say
the Senate needs to be strong.
'Trav is as good a man as I know, and I know Deval Patrick is a good
man. I think we'll have a great couple of years ahead of us because of
the renewed energy and spirit on Beacon Hill."
Frank Phillips of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
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