There have been three not-great stories for the Baker administration recently, all coming out of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA):
- Two top officials of the Department of Conservation and Recreation were suspended without pay for a week after the press revealed that they used state resources to throw a party for Republican bigwigs.
- Baker named his former campaign driver, James McGinn, as the head of the state’s environmental police – perhaps the most controversial of several hires within EOEEA that have the whiff of patronage about them.
- An EOEEA employee was harassed and faced on-the-job retaliation after her fiancé announced that he was planning to run against an incumbent Republican state senator.
Baker has defended the hiring of McGinn, and has strongly criticized the employees involved in the other incidents. Nonetheless, one has to wonder whether it’s coincidence that all of these incidents are happening within EOEEA. When Baker named Matthew Beaton, a not-very-well-known state rep, to be his Secretary of EOEEA, eyebrows were raised. And I wondered whether he was up to the job of running such a large operation:
one does wonder whether a 30-something, 2-term state rep with no evident experience overseeing anything other than a small construction company and a state rep’s tiny office is ready to hit the ground running with respect to a large secretariat that encompasses at least seven different agencies (honestly, if I had to hazard a guess as to which major Baker appointee will step down “to spend more time with his family” first, it’d be Beaton, since Baker will be the last guy to have patience for someone who isn’t up to the managerial aspect of the job).
So far, Baker is expressing “full and unequivocal support” for Beaton. But I’d expect that to change if this starts to look like more of a pattern than it already does.