Friday, July 2, 2010

Governor Owes Us The Truth

Can somebody explain to me how Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez can be convicted on five counts, including bribery, and be allowed to return to his office for a week, with unfettered access to his files, while State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph P. Marie is summoned to the Capitol for an emergency meeting, tenders his resignation, and then is locked out of his office and his email and access accounts? If you ask me, there is more to the Marie departure story than meets the eye.
I don’t buy the explanation put forth by Gov. M. Jodi Rell that Marie, just two years on the job, wanted to leave to spend more time with his family; not when he had a full schedule for the remainder of the week.
By all accounts, Marie had been doing an outstanding job as commissioner, improving morale in a rivalry-torn department, while attempting to promote state officials’ desire for more mass transportation, a Marie specialty. In fact, the state is preparing to apply for a federal grant to help underwrite it’s much coveted New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail line, with Marie guiding the effort. Now, all of a sudden he’s gone? He has a week’s worth of appointments, yet on a moment’s notice, he’s called to see the governor, tenders his resignation, then is locked out of his office? If he wants to return to pick up any personal items, he must be accompanied by a guard? And we’re supposed to believe it’s because he wants to spend more time with his family, while pursuing other employment opportunities? I don’t believe it for a New York minute.
I also don’t believe, he left because of a rocky relationship with the governor’s Chief-of-Staff Lisa Moody, or because that Virgin Airlines plane was stuck on the Bradley International Airport tarmac for four hours, following last week’s emergency landing.
The governor’s office is telling us, at a time when Connecticut’s transportation issues are at a critical juncture, the man she brought to the state to head the rejuvenation effort, suddenly wants to say adios, even as he’s receiving praise from both sides of the aisle? I just don’t believe it.
Such an abrupt departure, suggests to me, he was called to the governor’s office and for whatever reason - maybe a complaint was filed? - was told to resign. The entire story smacks of a cover up, by among others, an administration that promised a different, more open style of government, when it assumed the reigns of power, after the Rowland scandals, six years ago.
The administration and legislature have bombarded us with stories on how Connecticut’s outdated transportation infrastructure needs a major facelift, and now the savior of this endeavor suddenly resigns? And isn’t allowed back into the office unless accompanied by a guard? And both he and the governor are tight lipped about his resignation?
I don’t buy Gov. Rell’s or Commissioner Marie’s explanations. My instincts tell me there is plenty to this story, that we are not being told. Gov. Rell owes us the truth. That is what she promised, six years ago. The General Assembly’s transportation committee needs to call a special hearing to rout out the truth. The taxpayers of Connecticut are at least owed that much.