Would you appoint a 38 year old State Representative, with no court experience, to a clerk magistrate position?
Governor Deval Patrick would. Last month Patrick appointed his political ally, State Representative Christopher Speranzo, to the $110,000 job as clerk magistrate of the Pittsfield District Court. This appointment is for a lifetime. Not a bad gig for a 38 year old.
The problem for Deval Patrick is that Speranzo is utterly unqualified. In a normal environment this would be fine, Speranzo would go before a rubber stamp “Governor’s Council”, get his lifetime appointment confirmed and live a long happy life, and no one would be the wiser. Unfortunately. for both the Governor and Rep. Speranzo. the Governor’s Council is no longer a rubber stamp.
“You could be there 50, 60 years as clerk magistrate. We take them out in stretchers, 94, 95 years old,” said Councilor Marilyn Devaney, a Watertown Democrat. “Why do you think that you’re more experienced than these people that have worked in courts, know the law, know the people, know the district and they’re respected?”
If the opposition from four councilors against Speranzo holds, he’ll need the votes of the other four councilors and the presence of Gov. Deval Patrick next week in order for Lt. Gov. Tim Murray to cast a potential tie-breaking vote for the nominee.
To get around the opposition, Tim Murray breaks ties on the 8 member body, the administration took the rare step of postponing the confirmation vote by a week.
Four of the eight council members have expressed opposition to Speranzo’s nomination, citing a variety of reasons and raising the possibility that Speranzo would need Lt. Gov. Tim Murray’s tie-breaking vote if the other four councilors support him.
In order for Murray to break a tie, Patrick needs to preside over the council. Patrick plans to attend a biotechnology convention in Washington D.C. Tuesday and to return Wednesday and aides said last week they want to ensure that Patrick is available to participate in the meeting, if needed.
That’s the publicly given reason. The real reason, Red Mass Group has learned, is that one of the possible yea votes on the Speranzo nomination was out of the country. Which means that if the vote were held last week, Speranzo would not have been confirmed by a vote of 4-3.
Governor Patrick, and Tim Murray can talk all they want about a “new tone”, and their commitment to ethics reform. We, the people, will just have to wait until their actions match their rhetoric.
Oh and for the record, I wouldn’t have nominated this person for a position he is obviously unqualified for. I don’t think you would have either.