Tantrums by Toddlers on the Governor’s Council

It seems that four of the members of the Governor’s Council, that vestigial organ of state government, are throwing their sippy cups at the news that Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito intends to preside at this summer’s hearings for Governor Baker’s three nominees to the Supreme Judicial Court.

Never mind that under the Constitution the Lieutenant Governor is also a member of the Council and presides when the Governor is absent. Also never mind that the Governor has “full power and authority, from time to time, at his discretion” to call the Council together. Also never mind that there’s plenty of precedent for the Lieutenant Governor to preside on occasions that the Governor regards as appropriate, like, for example, nominations to the state’s highest court. With a Trumpian self-regard, four Councilors have gotten themselves in a huff over the plan.

Councilor Marilyn Devaney of Watertown (who has been known to throw other objects besides her sippy cup) demanded to know why the Lieutenant Governor was intent on usurping “our duties.”

Councilor Robert Jubinville of Milton openly conceded that he wanted the spotlight: “I don’t know why you want to take it away from us. This is a chance for councilors to do a hearing like we did with Judge [Ralph] Gants, to get some publicity and you’re taking it away.”

In response to the argument that Lieutenant Governor Murray had presided over the hearings for the SJC nominations of Governor Patrick, Councilor Christopher Ianella of Boston pouted thusly: “Murray at least asked.”

Councilor Eileen Duff of Gloucester went so far with her indignation to suggest that it might affect the votes on the nominations: “This is all about publicity, it’s all about press and it’s all about Karyn Polito. It’s not about the Governor’s Council and it’s not about the candidates. It’s absolutely disrespectful and outrageous….This administration is not setting these people up very well now for not having a whole lot of tie votes coming up.”

Really, these people are judging our judges?

Conversations with Charlie About Stuff

(Researched and written while listening to one of the Governor’s blizzard addresses, in which he said “stuff” at least twice. Offered simply as evidence of his curious fondness for the word.)

Q. What’s it like to be involved in a modern political campaign?
A. Campaigns are about many things — slogans, phone calls, fund-raisers, retail campaigning, and more. But, in the end, they are also about acts of God — stuff that happens that no one can predict or control.
(Boston Globe, 9/22/14)

Q. How will you allocate responsibilities between yourself and Lieutenant Governor Polito?
A. Health care is probably going to land in my lap. A lot of development stuff will probably land in hers.
(Boston Globe, 1/30/15)

Q. Do you have a comment on the demonstrators who blocked Interstate 93?
A. These protesters will be dealt with swiftly and appropriately, but public protests are sort of what being an American is all about and I approve of the more peaceful stuff.
(Boston Globe, 1/24/15)

Q. What are your impressions of the Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center at Worcester Polytechnic Institute?
A. There is a lot of great stuff going on.
(Worcester Telegram, 1/10/15)

Q. Can you offer the press any information about how you plan to construct your public relations team?
A. I’m sure we’ll have a chance to look at all those issues at a more detailed level in the next couple of weeks. And hopefully you guys will all be there to follow us on all that stuff.
(Boston Herald, 1/8/15)

Q. What do you think of the idea of a corporate tax amnesty program to generate cash for state spending needs?
A. I think the best solution, of course, would be not to have to ever do this stuff, but over time things happen and using this as a vehicle to sort of clean up another backlog is not a bad idea.
(Metrowest Daily News, 12/10/14)

Q. Any progress in your negotiations with the Obama administration about increasing pay for primary care doctors under the Affordable Care Act?
A. Obviously the devil in a lot of this stuff — for them and us — is as we try to shake detail out over time.
(Boston Globe, 12/6/14)

Q. Do you favor funding some portion of our transportation and other needs out of the yearly operating budget instead of paying for them with borrowed funds?
A. We historically borrowed money in Massachusetts to fund a lot of stuff that doesn’t have a 20- or 30-year shelf life. That’s a mistake.
(Springfield Republican, 11/12/14)

Q. Do you have a tendency to become too fixated on particular problems?
A. I tend to get kind of wrapped around the axle about stuff because that’s just the way I’m built.
(Boston Globe, 1/30/15)

Q. How are storm preparations affecting your ability to move forward with a plan to close the budget deficit?
A. It certainly affects the timing on some of this stuff.
(Taunton Gazette, 1/28/15)

Q. What is your motto?
A. Let’s get stuff done.
(Boston Globe, 10/16/14)