Sound Off: Should Massachusetts Get Rid of the Governor's Council?

The board that advises the governor on his or her appointments has been a source of embarrassment, the Boston Globe writes in an editorial, and the board has little function.

A few days after the primary selected the candidates who will face off for the Governor's Council, the Boston Globe ran an editorial calling for the end of the board that advises the governor on selections for judgeships, parole board and other posts.

The council predates the United States, having been set up by King Charles I of England. The editorial suggests that the Governor's Council no longer serves a necessary purpose and has had a negative effect, "... thanks to a few councilors whose clownish antics have been an embarrassment to the state ..."

The Globe also maintains that the council process has deterred qualified candidates from seeking to become a judge, clerk or another appointed seat.

Members of the Council would maintain that they prevent the judge seats and other posts going to buddies of the governor and other politicians. 

The editorial also states that the council's authority has shrunk, and "Approving judges and clerk magistrates is virtually all that’s left." The board also reviews appointments to the Parole Board, the Appellate Tax Board, the Industrial Accident Board, notaries and justices of the peace, according to the Secretary of State's website.

Do you think the Governor's Council should be scrapped? Do you even know what it does? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Brian McCormick September 10, 2012 at 08:04 PM
It was a federal judge that ruled in that case. The Govenor's council didn't confirm him, congress did.
Tom Sheff September 10, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Moon Beam is answering what should be the right question. The question should be if there is no Covernor's council how do you propose to hire judges. I have problem with MBW's answer for several reasons. The first is that very often money wins elections, not competence. I would also argue in many cases the more popular person wins elections as well. AND elections are very rigorous (going through one right now) and may qualified candidates won't want to put themselves through this process. Whether the Governor's council is good or not, lies squarely with the council themselves. If people elect good qualified candidates to be on the council then you'll get a solid council without the antics. If you elect people that yell at each other and lose their temper then thats what you'll get on the council. We have some GC members that have already shown their true colors, if you elect them again you'll get more of the same....if you elect new people you may get a better more qualified Council. The choice is the voters. Thanks. Sincerely, Tom Sheff candidate for Governor's Council/District 3 www.tomsheff.com
Patrick McCabe September 10, 2012 at 10:36 PM
The Boston Globe's problem with the Governor's Council is that they are now actually doing their job. Rather than simply rubber stamping nominations they are actually creating a public record about each of these nominees. The Boston Globe alleges that the Council "has deterred qualified candidates from seeking to become a judge" yet do they provide one example of a qualified candidate taking a pass? In the past two months more and more sole practitioners are getting a chance at a judgeship, unheard of just a few months ago. Isn't it just like big media to pine for the good old days when it was not as important what you know as it is who you know. Patrick McCabe PatrickMcCabeGovernorsCouncil.com
Tom Sheff September 11, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Patrick, (It was good to meet you last week)....The Devaney/Merrigan yelling match happened recently. The situation with improper questions asked by a GC member happened recently. Devaney is named on a lawsuit due to her being in charge of a meeting she chaired that didnt adhere to the constitution happened recently. The quote the Globe is using was from amember of the GC members who believes (and I agree) that some of the best qualified people dont apply due to the circus. I have also heard this while campaigning. I can't give you names because it's common sense that people wouldn't want to go through the process with the same characters in charge. But, I do agree with you in that sole practitioners should be equally considered for judgeships. Tom Sheff www.tomsheff.com
MJ September 21, 2012 at 04:37 PM
This is why we DON'T elect judges. Often, judges make what at the time seem like outrageous decisions but they advance us as a culture, such as ending segregation. The Reagan appointed judge that approved it--well, I disagree because no one on the outside can demand this surgery. However, since the lawyers have offered to forgo their fees (which the state is required to pay) if MA doesn't appeal, I think that's probably a reasonable plan, given the order.


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