By James Tauber
BRUNSWICK – The already heated 2022 elections took an unexpected turn recently with the revelation that the power of political patronage has captured much of Brunswick municipal operations. This machine, dubbed Hubbard Hall by supporters who wanted to give it a more sophisticated branding, derives support primarily from the lucrative government jobs that it doles out, such as construction jobs for the pricey replacement of the Frank J. Wood Bridge between Brunswick and Topsham.
“We would not have found this operation’s existence if it weren’t for the irregularities in the local pension funds,” a local muckraker claimed. “They were sloppy, and it caught up to them.” This whistleblower, who would prefer to remain anonymous amidst fear of political reprisal, also claimed that the need to replace the Frank J. Wood Bridge was influenced primarily by Hubbard Hall’s electioneering needs. “With that amount of money, the opportunity for grift, fraud, and patronage is endless.”
A party leader (‘boss’) offered some key pushbacks to this characterization of the Hubbard Hall structure. “Look, certain things need to be done to keep both Brunswick and its citizens happy. What’s wrong with a bit of honest graft? It’s a win-win situation for everyone.” When asked about the correlation between their apparent business activities in Brunswick and fluctuations in the Brunswick pension fund, they offered one response: “I seen my opportunities, and I took ‘em.”