Gloucester Daily Times
---- — To the editor:
It takes a passionate person to get people excited about something as obscure as the Governor’s Council.
Maura Ciardiello is such a candidate in this otherwise contentious campaign season where the public’s imagination is held strongly by seemingly more important races like the congressional, state senate and the presidential races. But for Massachusetts, the Governor’s Council — a virtual political outpost — is important.
Composed of eight individuals elected from districts, and the lieutenant governor who serves ex officio. The eight councilors are elected from their respective districts every two years, with Maura and Eileen Duff seeking our district’s seat in November.
The council meets weekly to record advice and consent on warrants for the state treasury, pardons and commutations, and recording advice and consent to gubernatorial appointments such as judges, clerk-magistrates, public administrators, members of the Parole Board, Appellate Tax Board, Industrial Accident Board and Industrial Accident Reviewing Board, notaries and justices of the peace.
Maura is a graduate of Haverhill High School, a former public school teacher and a mother of three young boys. She is married to a Massachusetts state trooper. When she speaks, she does so plainly about the importance of citizen participation in government. She is the epitome of a no- nonsense, untainted voice in a political landscape that is replete with professional politicians.
Since appointments of key positions such as judges, parole board members and court officials impact our communities tremendously it’s critical that a voice that stands for balance and compromise is delivered to this council. With only two Republicans on the council currently, balance is lacking when measured by the diverse interests of the two dominant parties in the state.
In 2003, judge Maria Lopez resigned amongst public outcry of her lenient sentence of issuing probation to a transgendered convict, Charles Horton, who was convicted of sexually abusing an 11-year old-boy. She was a controversial judge first appointed under the recommendation of the Governor’s Council by then governor Michael Dukakis. The appointment has long been regarded as an example of a one-party rule dominated leaning towards political appointees that support strong progressive principles that sometimes may not be beneficial to the collective interests of a community.
In a more recent issue, the Ware report in 2010 exposed the rampant nepotism and patronage that was virtually codified in the state’s probation department lead by Commissioner John O’Brien.
So what can one person do to counter the forces of public disinterest that dominate our politics? Plenty when that person advocates along time-honored principles of representation without conflict and self-interest.
Thanks to Maura Ciardiello, we can avail ourselves of the opportunity to send a message on Nov. 6 that tolerance for public servants who do not serve the public need not apply.