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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

SEIU scandal swept under rug by Gov.

The Governor's legal counsel announced yesterday that an investigation had found no evidence that the state Labor Commission Secretary made an inappropriate call about a Teachers Union case and pressured the commission to approve a unionization petition by Service Employees International Union.

Commissioners Paul O'Neill and Hugh Reilly, both of whom were appointed by Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, made the allegations, and on Tuesday dismissed Democratic governor Deval Patrick's findings.

"It's a whitewash," Reilly said. O'Neill added: "There was no real investigation."

But Clements, in an April 11 letter to O'Neill and Reilly and distributed Tuesday to lawmakers, said he "found no evidence to substantiate your claim." Clements said the official, Suzanne Bump, was "appropriately accessing how to improve the functioning of the LRC" when she contacted the commission.

The Labor Relations Commission is an independent panel that resolves labor disputes and enforces state labor laws. Bump, who is Patrick's labor and workforce secretary, is responsible for the commission's budget.

O'Neill and Reilly said that in January, Bump called commission chairman John Jesensky after the agency ruled that the Boston Teachers Union was violating the law with threats to strike. They said she complained that she wasn't been given notice before the decision was made public.

They also claimed that during a review of the commission's budget, Bump expressed support for a petition before the commission by Service Employees International Union, Local 1199.

The Patrick administration has proposed consolidating the commission with other departments, which O'Neill and Reilly oppose.