What's the Spanish word for "hack?"

I’ve commented before about how Lawrence, Massachusetts is probably the closest thing to an armpit in the body of MA. It’s been known as a haven for drug dealing, illegal immigration, welfare fraud, and insurance fraud for years now. In fact, they only recently started cracking down on the insurance fraud racket when a grandmother got herself killed in a staged accident, arranged to rip off the insurance companies.

But earlier this week I was reminded yet AGAIN of just how screwed up Lawrence is, this time in its (ahem) “education” department.

Wilfredo LaBoy is the superintendant of the Lawrence School District. He makes in excess of $164,000 a year off the Lawrence taxpayers (actually, the Massachusetts taxpayers — Lawrence gets a LOT of “aid” from the state.) He last came to public attention about a year ago, when he put 20 teachers on unpaid leave for failing a state-mandated English proficiency exam. It later came to light that he himself had failed the same test — without consequences. So he re-took it, and failed it again. On his third attempt, he managed to pass the reading section, yet failed the writing part for a third time. The whole state — nay, the whole region — breathlessly awaited Mr. Laboy’s fourth attempt, wondering if they would see him finally pass it.

But, alas, they were disappointed. Mr. Laboy apparently took the test on the Q.T., with hardly anyone knowing, and officials announced after the fact that Mr. Laboy had indeed passed the test. And apparently practice does indeed make perfect, because after flunking it three times Mr. Laboy scored 100% on his fourth attempt. He was promptly rewarded with a $6,000/year raise.

But with that obstacle over, Mr. Laboy decided to reward himself. He already gets a $600/month “allowance” for transportation, so he leased himself a Chevy Trailblazer. But sometimes Mr. Laboy (who, by the way, doesn’t even live in Lawrence, but in the neighboring city of Methuen) needs to shuttle Mrs. Laboy around, and climbing into and out of that big SUV is difficult in high heels, so he treated her to a $490 set of running boards for the Trailblazer.

That would be fine and dandy, but now he wants the public to do the treating. He submitted a claim to the city of Lawrence for the cost of the running boards.

Now, if Mr. Laboy was simply doing gangbusters work, much of this might be forgiven as trivial. But the Lawrence schools are still at the bottom of the state ranking. They have been unaccredited for some time now, and are a hairs-breadth away from being taken over by the state (which already picks up 99% of the district’s budget).

Sometimes I feel guilty about the abuse I heap on Massachusetts. I occasionally feel like I’m picking on the retarded kid, and that’s just wrong. But then I remember their overwhelming sense of moral and intellectual superiority, all the refugees from Mass. that have fled here to Cow Hampshire, and all my friends who simply can’t afford to escape from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, and I end up feeling like I’m pulling off the bandage quickly. Yes, it hurts, but my ultimate goal is to help them.

And if that means kicking around asshats like Mr. Laboy and shining a bit of sunlight on his more egregious acts, and using him as an exemplar of just how rotten the whole Massachusetts system is, I’ll strap on the steel-toed $#!+-kickers and let him have it, right where it hurts — in his taxpayer-funds-bloated wallet.

Besides, it’s fun.


Doing well by doing good: A "contractual obligation" piece (2 of 7)
Exit Poll Postmortem


  1. McGehee January 20, 2005
  2. Neal January 20, 2005
  3. SteveL January 20, 2005
  4. Bruce January 20, 2005
  5. John January 20, 2005
  6. tee bee January 20, 2005
  7. firstbrokenangel January 20, 2005
  8. firstbrokenangel January 20, 2005
  9. ghost who walks January 21, 2005