Margolis Not Going Down Without A Fight

1196262557Nobody likes being “let go”, especially when the news is published in the newspaper. But Boston Public Library president Bernard Margolis really doesn’t like getting fired. Instead of going quietly into that good night as so many other former members of Mayor Tom Menino’s administration have, Margolis is trying to take Menino down a few notches on his way out.

Margolis’ dismissal originally sounded like a routine, albeit Menino-ish, political maneuver by the mayor. Things got interesting when the Globe interviewed Margolis after it became official that his contract wouldn’t be renewed by the library’s trustees, most of whom were appointed by Menino.

[Margolis] lashed back at Mayor Thomas M. Menino, accusing him of an “anti-intellectual” bent. . .

He accused the mayor of starving the city’s 27 branch libraries of adequate funding and interfering with library operations. He said Menino runs the city as if it were an authoritarian state.

“I didn’t think this was Venezuela,” Margolis said.

Man, we love Margolis when he’s angry.

Aside from the great digs he gets on Menino, Margolis also told the Globe that the mayor asked him to “hire certain people, ostensibly for political favors.” This claim got the attention of the State Ethics Commission, which has launched a probe into the charges.

If true, that kind of pressure could be deemed by the State Ethics Commission to be in violation of Massachusetts’ conflict of interest law, which prohibits public officials from using their positions to secure “unwarranted privileges” for themselves or others that are “not properly available to similarly situated individuals,” according to commission guidelines.

Mayor Menino’s office covers all the bases.

“The mayor never had any conversations with Bernie regarding jobs at the library, and if anyone else did he had no knowledge of it,” [Menino spokeswoman Dot] Joyce said.

Margolis hasn’t commented on the investigation yet, but he has asked library trustees for legal representation if the investigation continues. Stay tuned, kids—this could get very interesting.