In its October 23rd story the Boston Herald makes the case that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (Mass. DPH) is hypocritical because the Director of the Bureau of Public Health, Susan Condon, uses a state provided automobile to commute back and forth from her home in Quincy to work in Boston. Apparently, the Mass. DPH official has published studies along the lines that automobiles are bad for our health and cause such things as asthma.
Whether or not the agency is hypocritical, it is certainly wasteful. According to the Herald, the reason the state employee has the vehicle is to be able to respond at a moment’s notice to haz-mat situations. However, in the past two years she has never once done so, even during the Marathon bombing, and after Hurricane Sandy. Since it is not allowed under IRS guidelines to expense an automobile for one’s commute, the state is in effect providing the official, who earns $115,000 per year, the added bonus of a vehicle paid for by the taxpayers. Since she is not responding to any haz-mat situations on a regular basis it would seem logical that the state could dispatch a state trooper to fetch her and deliver her to her required duty station in the event of a haz-mat zone of such importance that she had to be there in person. It should be noted that the MBTA serves Quincy with the Red line subway, the commuter rail, and bus services. Completing the list of all the possible ways one could take public transportation from Quincy to work in Boston is the water shuttle to Long Warf.
Interestingly, this is the second recent example of a car-bashing Mass. government agency official who refuses to use the MBTA to get to and from work and instead uses the dirty, horrible, internal combustion engine to make the journey. As we reported earlier this year, Mass. Undersecretary of Energy, Barbara Kates-Garnick is a big fan of cabs as her way of moving around the Commonwealth, even though the T would serve her needs pretty much door to door.
If the Mass. DPH is hypocritical regarding asthma in some way, it would seem that a case could be made that since it is the agency that regulates the use of marijuana for “medical” purposes it should do a study like the one it conducted linking cars to asthma to see if smoking marijuana has any link to asthma. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.