GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

May 24, 2013

Editorial: Murray’s exit brings needed fresh air

It’s not a huge surprise that our lieutenant governor has decided to quit his post and take a much lower-profile – though well-paying — job in the private sector heading the Worcester Chamber of Commerce.

Perhaps the only surprise is why it took Timothy Murray this long to acknowledge that he had lost the public’s confidence in him, and any credibility he would need if he were ever called up to step into the governor’s role.

Look, we frankly don’t expect a lot from lieutenant governors. And if they’re smart, they can build up goodwill with the public, form a political base to advance their career while staying under the radar.

But that was Murray’s problem — he couldn’t do any of those things right. First, there was the mysterious high-speed pre-dawn car accident in late 2011 that utterly destroyed his state-provided car. Murray’s story for why he was on the road at that time — and for driving 108 mph — changed as more evidence emerged, which only generated suspicion.

Then came the bombshell: Murray had exchanged dozens of phone calls with corrupt Chelsea Housing Authority Director Michael McLaughlin, and had been the recipient of donations that McLaughlin had raised for him, allegedly from housing authority employees. The state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance found that the fund-raising was not done in compliance with state law, and asked the Attorney General’s office to investigate.

Murray has denied that these investigations had anything to do with his decision to leave office, and — in the spirit of denial — looked back on his record with pride. Yet, Murray’s leaving office to become the head of the Worcester Chamber of Commerce in 11 days — less than two weeks’ notice — and McLaughlin is expected to be sentenced for falsifying records a few days after that. Hmmmm.

Simply put, we expect and deserve better from our elected officials than Murray has shown — even in his visits to Gloucester, when he had come bearing checks for harbor development. Hopefully, his exit will open the door to someone more deserving of his post — and residents’ faith.

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