Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is working diligently to correct some of the rookie mistakes he made during his first three months in office. A series of staffing changes is expected to supply Patrick with better advice from politically savvy Beacon Hill insiders and help him avoid future missteps.
These are smart moves for Patrick.
A significant shakeup came last week when Patrick announced that chief of staff Joan Wallace-Benjamin was leaving and would be replaced by Doug Rubin, who was a senior aide in his campaign and served as former first deputy to state Treasurer Timothy Cahill. Rubin definitely knows his way around Beacon Hill.
Patrick also hired Joe Landolfi, an experienced Statehouse spokesman, and David Morales, a top aide to former Senate President Robert Travaglini, as a senior adviser.
In the past three months, Patrick made some public-relations mistakes by purchasing expensive furniture and draperies for his office, leasing a costly vehicle and hiring a chief of staff for his wife, while talking about a budget deficit. Chances are experienced staffers would have made sure those errors never happened.
Some supporters may bemoan the staff changes, concerned that Patrick is hiring “insiders” when he touted himself as an “outsider” during his campaign. But if Patrick wants a chance to accomplish his many goals, he needs seasoned people who know how to get things done at the Statehouse.
Patrick began to realize that fact even before he took office, but seemed reluctant to muddy his grass-roots image.
If he didn’t realize it before, Patrick certainly now knows that compromise is crucial in politics and perception is often reality.