I wrote earlier about the pathetic, inexcusable hack-a-palooza that Patrick and Murray were engaging in for their nomination of Berkshire State Rep. Christopher “No Show” Speranzo for (cushy job for life) clerk magistrate, and their backroom manipulating to win the Governor’s Council vote for his appointment.
Sadly, the writing on the wall was written in permanent ink, and this sorry mess couldn’t be stopped.
From the Berkshire Eagle:
BOSTON — Amid allegations of patronage, the Governor’s Council narrowly approved state Rep. Christopher N. Speranzo’s appointment Wednesday as the next clerk magistrate of Central Berkshire District Court.As expected, Gov. Deval Patrick’s nomination of Speranzo divided the eight-person council, which was split 4-4 over the appointment until Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of Speranzo.Speranzo’s supporters were silent before the roll-call vote. His detractors, meanwhile, were outspoken.Two Republican councilors and two Democratic councilors were united in their contention that Speranzo, 38, is underqualified for the job, a lifetime appointment that pays $110,000 annually.They argued that the nomination of Speranzo, who makes $61,000 a year as a lawmaker, is the product of a rigged application process that gives more weight to political connections than to legal experience.After the vote, Murray brushed off the notion that political considerations were at play.“I think if people look at [Speranzo’s] resume, they’ll find he has a breadth of experience that will serve him well,” Murray said.…Speranzo wasn’t at Wednesday’s vote and could not be reached for comment. At his confirmation hearing before the council on June 22, he testified he didn’t have any criminal law experience and had never participated in a trial, but was ready for a new challenge.Clerk magistrates are responsible for managing the court’s day-to-day business, but they also preside over criminal show-cause hearings and certain civil hearings in which they render decisions that carry the same weight as a judge.
Of course, the vote was originally scheduled to be last Wednesday, but it was postponed because one of Speranzo’s 4 votes was traveling. Speranzo would have lost that vote 4-3. Here’s how this past Wednesday’s vote went down, again from the Berkshire Eagle:
As lieutenant governor, Murray serves as chairman of the Governor’s Council. In the event of a tie vote, the governor steps in to preside over the meeting while the lieutenant governor casts the deciding vote.Patrick was in the packed meeting room, which is adjacent to his office on Beacon Hill, for less than two minutes.He rushed in and picked up the gavel, and Murray then quietly announced his vote.“Do I get to hit this now?” Patrick asked, still holding the gavel.He struck the table with it and immediately left the room via a side door.
Patrick nominated Speranzo for the position on June 5, calling him well qualified and experienced.
Speranzo landed the lifetime position by a split vote on the Governor’s Council, 5 -4, with Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray casting the tie-breaking vote. He was the only Western Massachusetts candidate being considered for the position.
His recent nomination by Gov. Deval Patrick upset many city residents after he refused to discuss applying for the position last year. He was highly criticized for running for re-election at the same time as applying for the position that has been vacant for the last two years — reminding city residents of his predecessor, former Rep. Peter Larkin, who also applied for jobs during an election year and left the seat days after being sworn in.
“Christopher Speranzo is an experienced attorney who will serve the region well as clerk-magistrate of the Pittsfield District Court. Throughout the process, Mr. Speranzo received a broad range of support from a judge and other members of the legal community in support of his strong character and qualifications,” said the governor’s Deputy Press Secretary Alec Loftus on Wednesday afternoon. “We are confident that his abilities and experience in the legal system will serve him and the Pittsfield District Court well.”
Speranzo won the 3rd Berkshire District seat in the state House of Representatives in a special election in 2005 – filling the spot vacated by Larkin, who quit to take a private-sector job just six days after being sworn in.
His departure is expected to force a special election for his successor, although the city will reportedly seek permission to delay the vote until the November municipal election.
If you want to read some counterpoints to the bullshit claims from Patrick, Murray, and Loftus that Speranzo was well-qualified for the position, read the comments on my hack-a-palooza hit piece. Or read the stinging criticism from Councilor Marilyn Petitto Devaney here. Something stinks in the world of Massachusetts politics, and that something is Massachusetts politics.