Open the Massachusetts State Government Already [OPINION]
If you are attempting to do business with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you have undoubtedly run into roadblocks since the start of the pandemic. Now the pandemic is over, yet the Massachusetts State House remains closed, and many state employees are still working from home. As a result, delays and inconveniences abound.
Let me give you an example. I recently learned about a parking pass that provides Massachusetts seniors with free parking privileges for life at "most state parks." The pass costs a mere 10 dollars, and you must be at least 62 years old to get one. A bargain, right? It has my name all over it.
But the Massachusetts DCR website does not offer a list of which parks are "most state parks" or whether Westport's Horseneck Beach is included in this. It turns out it is. The good news is that we seniors can park at Horseneck and not face the $13 parking fee so long as we have the senior lifetime parking pass.
Ah, the parking pass.
To find out of Horseneck indeed qualifies, I placed a call to the DCR's main number. A recorded message instructed me to leave a message, and someone would get back to me promptly. The following day, I received a call confirming that the pass is good for Horseneck.
So how do I apply for this pass? I must provide proof of residency and my age. A copy of my driver's license would suffice. But it must be submitted by snail mail since all of the regional offices remain closed. No online applications are permitted, either. The processing time takes anywhere between four to seven weeks. In other words, it could be late August before I receive my parking pass. That's crazy!
Schools have reopened. Walmart never closed. I can buy pot, booze, cigarettes, and attend sporting events, but state workers still can't go back to work? For real? I can only imagine what it must be like for folks with real problems they need the state to address.
Come on, you hacks, open the government and get back to work.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.