Monday, August 30, 2010

Another Patrick Judicial Appointee Withdraws

What is it with the Patrick-Murray Administration and its judicial appointments?

For the second time in five weeks, one of the administration’s judicial nominees has been forced to withdraw his name from consideration prior to a confirmation vote of the Governor’s Council.

The latest casualty is Chris Maclachan, an attorney at the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA), who was recently nominated by Patrick to serve as an administrative law judge for the DIA at a salary of $94,700 a year. In a letter dated August 20 (a Friday, naturally), Maclachan abruptly pulled himself out of the running, citing “persoanl (sic) reasons.”

After doing some digging, the State House News Service discovered the real reason behind Maclachan’s withdrawal: although he listed his place of residence on his nomination form as Haverhill, MA, Maclachan is actually a longtime resident of Derry, New Hampshire. This revelation came to light after Governor’s Councilor MaryEllen Manning spoke with Maclachan, who admitted to her he only recently began renting an apartment in Haverhill.

Manning, you may recall, was one of two Councilors to raise questions about another Patrick nominee, Attorney David Aptaker, who was in line for a position at the Middlesex Family and Probate Court before it was learned he had failed to disclose some controversial political campaign donations. Aptaker’s withdrawal was announced on – what else – a Friday: July 16 to be exact, or five weeks to the day before Maclachlan ended his candidacy (for more information, see our July 2 post, "Tim Murray Pulls a Sergeant Schultz"; our July 15 post, "Where Was Tim?"; and our July 17 post, "If It's Bad News, It Must be Friday").

We appreciate Councilor Manning’s due diligence in vetting candidates that come before the Governor’s Council, which is chaired by Patrick’s second-in-command, Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray. Perhaps if Murray himself did a better job vetting these candidates ahead of time, the administration would have been spared the embarrassment of yet another botched nomination.