Is he qualified?
But two stories in today's Globe made me stop and think for a second.
First up is the incredibly convoluted story involving the naming of a judge to the Industrial Accident Board, an obscure agency that administers the worker's compensation law. The Page One headline blares: "Patrick ally's spouse gets a pension boost." But the name of Deval Patrick appears for the first time in the fifth paragraph, and on the jump page of the dead tree edition.
That's because you need to wade through a thicket of explanations that include the fact the retired District Court Judge Paul Buckley's wife is state Sen. Marian Walsh, who went to the state Ethics Commission and then abstained from acting on proposed legislation (which died) that would have enabled Buckley to count military service toward his pension.
Confused? Well by now you should feel good about both Walsh and Senate President Robert Travaglini who croaked the bill because he thought it was a special interest measure.
But Patrick then named his "ally's spouse" to a board that adjudicates disputes about the worker's comp law (the position is that of administrative judge). Here's what former Bristol County DA's office said about Buckley when they hired him as an assistant district attorney:
Sounds qualified doesn't he -- even if he was appointed by a Republican governor. Not a special interest sinecure position either. There's real work involved.
Buckley retired as an Associate Justice of the Quincy District Court on February 6, 2006 and was sworn in as an Assistant District Attorney the next day. Assistant District Attorney Buckley will be in charge of Grand Jury screening, the Major Violators Unit, and the Motor Vehicle Homicide Division.
Buckley began his career as a public defender, moved to the Suffolk District Attorney’s office where he became First Assistant District Attorney to Newman Flanagan, then went into private practice in Milton, Massachusetts.
In 1999 Judge Buckley was named to the bench by Governor Paul Cellucci and sat primarily in the Quincy District Court.
No one is disputing there has been hanky-panky involving legislators like Marie Parente trying to boost her pensions by counting the cost of her daily parking space as part of the base. And there is certainly no question that plenty of hacks have been appointed to no-work, no-show jobs.
But what proof, if any, is there that Buckley is one of those people? He took a job (that also did not sound like a no-show) after a forced retirement. His wife abstained from any involvement and the Legislature showed wisdom in not producing a special interest law.
Is Paul Buckley qualified for this job? Sure sounds like it. Is it a no-show job or is he someone who wants to keep working and remain active? Why not observe him first and come to a conclusion based on facts?
The story suggests to me we are clearly in one of those media feeding frenzies where a candidate (or elected official) enters a downward spiral and everything he or she is involved with gets pulled into the vortex. If that story doesn't count, this one surely does.
As someone who has not downloaded any of Patrick's podcasts, I'm surprised there was THAT much initial interest. Most of it has come from media concerned about Patrick trying to "talk over their heads." Playing the story so prominently on the front metro page strikes as so much self-absorbed overkill -- on the Globe's part.
Let me clearly restate: Patrick deserves a lot of this grief. His wounds are self-inflicted, caused by lack of thought and poor staff work.
But the Buckley "pension" story is, at the very least, extremely premature and therefore unfair. Let's see if he's guilty of resume padding or whether he truly wants to keep working before writing the story.