Kudos to Bill Galvin for Putting Regina Quinlan, Retired Judge, on Ethics Commission

Monday, October 22, 2012

Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin is a man of many talents, and one of those talents is the ability to spot talent, as evidenced most recently when he named Regina L. Quinlan, a retired judge, to the five-member State Ethics Commission.
A Brighton native and graduate of Regis College and Suffolk University Law School, Judge Quinlan retired earlier this year after 20 years as an associate justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court.  She continues to hold a visiting professorship at Boston College Law School.
Judge Quinlan was appointed to the bench in the spring of 1992 by former Governor Bill Weld, who, incidentally, signaled his intention last week to return to Massachusetts after a 15-year stint working in law and investment banking in New York City.  (Weld will join his gubernatorial administration’s former economic development director, Steve Tocco, at ML Strategies, the government relations arm of the Mintz Levin law firm.)
Judge Quinlan is widely known and admired for her legal acumen, first-class temperament, and backbone.  As a lawyer specializing in First Amendment cases, and later as a judge, she never hesitated to take an unpopular position, if convinced it was the right thing to do.  There’s no reason to expect that tough-mindedness to soften when Judge Quinlan is sitting on the State Ethics Commission.
On the commission, she will be joining retired federal district court Justice Charles B. Swartwood, III, who chairs the group, and members Paula Finley Mangum, Martin F. Murphy and William J. Trach, all attorneys and individuals with varied backgrounds.
The commission has been in existence since 1978, enforcing the state’s conflict of interest and financial disclosure laws for elected and appointed public officials.  It has 23 employees and an annual budget of approximately $1.8 million.  Commissioners are eligible to received $75 per day for their services, but the majority do not put in for their pay, as I understand it.  
Three ethics commissioners are appointed by the governor, and one commissioner each by the attorney general and the secretary of state.
Here’s a sample of some recent cases, as highlighted on the commission’s web site:
·         Charles F. Fisher, a member of the Somerset Board of Water and Sewer Commission, paid a $25,000 civil penalty for performing paid, private work in Somerset in matters that involved permits issued by the board.
·         Gang Sun, a physics professor at the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts, paid a $25,000 civil penalty for hiring his wife on numerous occasions as his paid research assistant and paid teaching assistant.
·         The former chairman of the Edgartown Dredge Advisory Committee, Norman Rankow, paid a $5,000 civil penalty for directing town employees to use municipal equipment to dredge the area around his private client’s dock without first obtaining the required town, state and federal permits.
·         Former Avon Assistant Assessor Marjorie Malone paid a $5,000 civil penalty for improperly raising the property assessments of two town officials in apparent retaliation against the town after learning she would be the subject of disciplinary proceedings.
·         Former Attleboro Police Chief Richard Pierce paid a $3,500 civil penalty for participating in an internal investigation involving his police officer son, improperly giving his son an internal investigation report, and allowing his son to submit late reports.

WHOSE HANDS ARE THOSE? Last time I checked, Medicare was a program of the U.S. government.  Therefore, it appears that a group called No Medicare Tax, which is working to defeat the Democratic incumbent, John Tierney, in the Sixth District Congressional race in Massachusetts, is confused.  No Medicare Tax distributed a brochure with this headline shouting on its mail flap: “Congressman John Tierney: Keep the government’s hands off my Medicare drug benefits!”  Isn’t that like telling Bob Kraft to keep his pesky hands off the Patriots?  If you want to see where this group is coming from, go to www.nomedicaretax.com

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