Never one to mince words, Con Hogan made plain yesterday his contempt for media coverage of the Green Mountain Care Board’s decision to launch a $50,000 “public engagement” strategy.
Hogan’s job as a part-time member of the five-person board is the latest in a long line of state-government gigs for the East Montpelier resident. He was secretary of human services for most of the 1990s, and spent more than a decade in corrections before that.
He’s a big man. With a big voice. Which means when Hogan talks, people tend to listen. And his not-too-subtle jab during a board meeting Tuesday definitely perked the ears of the half-dozen or so reporters there to cover it.
“The media over the last few days has been full of crap – words like ‘flacks’ to describe the kind of person we’re looking for, that we’re creating a Department of Propaganda, that our sole purpose is to improve the personal images of the people on this board,” Hogan said.
As for Gov. Peter Shumlin, who dispatched two of his closest aides to try to convince board chairwoman Anya Rader Wallack to rescind the RFP for a “communication plan:”
“As far as I’m concerned the administration completely overreacted,” Hogan said. “This kind of environment is geared to cause us not to move forward. It throws sand in the gears of our attempts to meet our terms.”
The board, which subsequently voted 4-1 to abandon the RFP, will apparently have to find other ways to communicate with the people of Vermont. Rader Wallack, glass half full, noted that while the spotlight might not have been flattering, “we did get a lot of free media” as a result of the controversy.