Maura Healey needs to take bold action to reform UMass hack haven

The time for treating the bloated UMass system as an inside joke is over.

It’s a bad joke on all taxpayers, and one the cash-strapped state can no longer afford.

The political hack haven of UMass and its campuses are costing the state billions annually at a time when the state budget is reeling with the $1 billion a year cost for housing migrants.

Gov. Maura Healey, who just imposed a hiring freeze, needs to step in and take bold action to restructure the entire UMass system, cut salaries and eliminate unnecessary positions like assistant vice chancellors and deputy vice chancellors costing us $400,000 a year salaries.

Freeze the salary of UMass President Marty Meehan, who made $802,000 last year, until he stops hiking tuition.

Higher education is in crisis. UMass just announced yet another tuition increase at a time when universities and colleges are struggling with declining enrollment and soaring costs for students of $90,000 a year.

Healey needs to conduct a top to bottom independent assessment, not done by the usual political flunkies. And don’t try appointing Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll as education czar.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney tried to reform UMass, cut waste and get control of its costs but was blocked by the Democratic-controlled Legislature and then UMass President William Bulger, a former Senate president.

“This is my opportunity to be bold,” Romney said at the time.

Turns out it wasn’t. But Healey has no such excuse. She can be bold and be successful. Meehan, a former Democratic congressman, would never go against the Democratic governor.

If she can take control of the MCCA, she can take control of UMass.

Do something bold and cut salaries and bonuses and unnecessary positions. Shake it up. Let the administrators complain at the posh UMass Club while they’re wining and dining themselves.

If she wants to get serious about higher ed, she needs to tackle those obscene high salaries. Vice chancellors and deputy vice chancellors typically make $300,000 to $400,000 a year, way more than even the governor makes. Sports coaches and officials at the UMass Medical School approach and sometimes exceed $1 million a year.

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