Daily Archives: September 3, 2014

Dave Yacovone’s astoundingly well-timed job opportunity

In a hastily-scheduled news conference, on the second working day after Governor Shumlin’s return from vacation, Dave Yacovone announced today he is resigning as head of the Department for Children and Families. He’s taking, as Paul “The Huntsman” Heintz puts it, “an undisclosed job outside state government.” He and the Governor both insisted Yacovone’s departure was “unexpected and entirely voluntary.” 

So why is my bullshit detector pinging nonstop? 

Perhaps because the timing is awfully convenient for an Admininstration wishing to put a controversy behind it. 

I have absolutely no inside information on this, but here’s what it looks like to me. DCF’s well-publicized troubles led to the forced ouster of Human Services Secretary Doug Racine on August 11. Three weeks later, Yacovone suddenly finds a new job. Which he won’t disclose. And which requires his immediate resignation. 

That last item is a big one. Usually, top administrative jobs are filled in the course of months, not days or weeks. Yacovone had to have been looking around for a while now. And transitions are built in to the timing, so an executive has time to ease out of the old job. Not Yacovone; he’s out the door right now. 

Doug Racine was fired, not for job performance, but for “style,” for failing to be a cheerleader for the Administration’s policies. Yacovone was a vocal defender of the agency’s work, so when it came time for him to go, he was allowed to pull the ripcord himself. 

Perhaps a nice job opening was even arranged on his behalf. 

The unspecified job is in Lamoille County, and involves human services in some form. Professionally, this has to be a significant step downward. There may be other factors in Yacovone’s case; he lives in Morrisville and he might want a job closer to home. He’s old enough that he might be looking to wind down rather than climb the ladder. 

This is all speculation. What isn’t is the timing: three weeks after Racine’s departure, and a few days before Shumlin formally begins his re-election bid. Time to shove a skeleton back in the closet. 

Personally, I don’t believe that DCF’s troubles warranted anyone’s departure, voluntary or otherwise. The Department has been chronically underfunded and understaffed, and the most capable administrator in the world can’t fully compensate for that. But political considerations are apparently more pressing at DCF than at Vermont Health Connect, whose problems, IMHO, are more serious and politically damaging. I’ll be interested to see if there are any conveniently-timed, face-saving departures at VHC in the near future. 

The Freeploid’s headline writer is at it again

Same story, two headlines. VTDigger: 

STATE REGULATORS CUT RATE INCREASES FOR VERMONT HEALTH CONNECT

And Vermont’s Largest Newspaper, your Burlington Free Press: 

Vermont health insurance rates to increase 

Both stories concern this week’s action by the Green Mountain Care Board, authorizing increases in health insurance rates for the coming year. Digger chose to emphasize the actual news — that the Board had trimmed the size of requested rate increases — while the Freeploid went with a factual but fundamentally misleading header. 

The requested increases were old news. The Board’s decision to cut them was the real news.

The Burlington Free Press, once again dutifully (if subtly) carrying water for the VTGOP.

Pope Sal Spreads the Gospel of His Omniscience

Hey, remember Salvatore Matano, former Catholic Bishop of Burlington? He got promoted to the bishopric of Rochester, New York last year, and he’s already making waves in his new parish even as the effects of his Vermont tenure continue to reverberate. 

Matano is described thusly by the National Catholic Reporter

Matano is a classmate and friend of Cardinal Raymond Burke. Burke is well known for a certain rigid legalism during his tenure in St. Louis. In 2008, he was appointed prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the church’s highest canonical body, and would eventually become a member of the Congregation for Bishops. In this capacity, Burke had a hand in appointing his former classmate to Rochester.

Funny thing: Burke thrived under the legalistic papacy of Benedict, but was quickly tossed from the Congregation by Benny’s successor, Pope Francis. 

Back to Our Pal Sal, whose Vermont tenure featured a stout defense against any and all claims in the clergy sex-abuse scandal. Foot-dragging, denial of responsibility, pleas of poverty… Sal used the entire playbook. 

Well, now VPR’s Steve Zind reports another choice tidbit from the Matano Era. While Sal was still here, the Vatican issued a survey to gather input from the faithful and “encouraged bishops to disseminate it as widely as possible, including at the parish level.”

Instead, according the Concerned Catholics of Vermont, Our Pal grabbed the survey and filled it out himself. And is refusing to disclose the nature of his responses. CCOVT says: 

Vermont Catholics have no notion what was reported to Rome about how we access the surveyed issues and, given no information about the consultation undertaken, we have no grounds for knowing whether the report was accurate.

The survey covered hot-button topics like birth control, divorce, and marriage equality, and was meant to gather the views of Catholics in advance of an “extraordinary synod of Bishops” next month. 

Well, thanks to Matano, the views of Vermont Catholics are shut out of the process. 

Meanwhile, in his new posting in Rochester, Matano is imposing regressive policies. The NCR:  

Bishop Salvatore Matano, the new bishop of Rochester, N.Y., is in the process of ending a 40-year custom of permitting lay ministers to preach at Mass. Most are women commissioned to preach by the former bishop, Matthew Clark. All have advanced degrees in theology and all have served for many years in various diocesan leadership positions.

“Well, they might be tremendously gifted and qualified,” I can hear Matano saying, “but… but… they’re WOMEN! They have LADYPARTS! God forbid we should sully our pulpits with vaginal juices!” 

Yeah, semen stains on the robes are fine, but we can’t let GIRLS in our clubhouse!

The National Catholic Reporter sees Matano’s elevation to Rochester as part of Benedict’s efforts to promote conservative doctrine. Let’s hope Francis is paying attention to Sal’s medieval policies, both in Vermont and in Rochester.