Thursday, October 21, 2021

Democratic senators blast Charlie Baker over contract with controversial consulting firm McKinsey

Two Democratic state senators are renewing calls for Governor Charlie Baker to cut ties with the consulting firm McKinsey & Company that earlier this year settled a $573 million lawsuit with the state over its role in the opioid crisis. Was.

State auditor candidate Sen. Diana Dizoglio said, “It is unfortunate, disappointing and concerning that the governor will reward a firm with additional state contracts that he has caused all the pain to families in the Commonwealth, including my own.” ” The opioid epidemic is “personal” to her family.

In a Tuesday letter, Dizoglio and Sen. Anne Goby, D-Spencer, called on Baker, Republican, to “stop wasting taxpayer dollars on a company that has a proven record of violating public trust.”

Michael Moore, Representative Mike Connolly and the nominee for lieutenant governor Tammy Gouvia, all Democrats, also signed the letter.

The state’s continuing contract with McKinsey has been seized upon as a somewhat political football by Democratic contenders for statewide office in recent months.

Attorney General Maura Healy, a Democrat widely believed to be considering a run for governor, blasted the Baker administration back in March for “outrageous” payments to the controversial consulting firm.

A month earlier, in February, McKinsey settled a lawsuit brought by Healy and 46 other attorneys generals, acknowledging their role in helping drug companies sell opioids like OxyContin to increase profits. The $573 million settlement would pay $13 million to Massachusetts, which Healy said at the time would be used for treatment, prevention and recovery services.

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Sen. Joan Comerford, D-Northampton, co-chair of the Joint Committee on COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management, questioned the firm’s reliance on the state’s Department of Public Health in a March hearing detailing coronavirus metrics. Help in preparing important reports. throughout the pandemic.

The state has paid New York-based McKinsey $12.7 million since January, according to a Herald review of state spending. The charges run for the most recent $1.6 million fee for a report on the post-pandemic shift toward remote work, from IT services for the Comptroller’s Office to process coronavirus reports for the Executive Office of Health and Human Resources to process coronavirus reports. .

It is not clear whether the renowned consulting firm has any open bidding with the state.

Baker’s office declined to comment further Tuesday.

But despite public condemnation, McKinsey was not included in the attorney general’s Fair Labor Division debarment list published by Healy’s office earlier this month. The list includes companies that must be excluded from state contracts.

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said at the time that she would reconsider her department’s contracts with the firm that acknowledged in the agreement that “the public’s trust on a public health matter was violated,” as Comford had said. EEOHS has paid McKinsey more than $4 million since the March 25 hearing.

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