Photo by Renee DeKona
"Lt. Gov. Tim Murray rakes in $175G in two months: Fuels rumors that Deval may flee"
By Dave Wedge, Wednesday, June 11, 2008, www.bostonherald.com, Local Politics
Lt. Gov. Tim Murray has been on a fund-raising tear in the past two months, hauling in $175,000 as speculation swirls that Gov. Deval Patrick could flee the state early for a post in a Barack Obama White House.
Patrick has pledged to run for re-election, but Murray and other top Democrats who could succeed him - including Attorney General Martha Coakley and Treasurer Tim Cahill - have been building their war chests with an eye toward a potentially bruising and wide-open 2010 race.
Cahill leads the trio with more than $3 million in his coffers followed by Coakley with $600,000 and Murray with approximately a half million. But in April and May, Murray raised $175,000, tapping powerful public safety and labor unions, lawmakers, lobbyists and state workers. Coakley and Cahill each raised about $65,000 during the same period, records show.
Insiders say Murray’s windfall is partly the result of speculation that Patrick could land a Cabinet post in an Obama administration.
“You can’t help but hear the talk about if Obama wins, that Deval’s leaving,” said one political source close to Murray. “So you just have to be ready.”
If Patrick leaves before his term is up, Murray would be in line to serve as acting governor in the same way that Paul Cellucci and Jane Swift took office.
Of the recent flurry of campaign contributions, Murray campaign spokesman Michael Cohen said: “Tim Murray is focused on the job he was elected to do. He fully expects to be running for re-election in 2010 with Gov. Patrick.”
While Patrick has slapped down suggestions he’ll land a Cabinet post - possibly as Attorney General - he has campaigned hard for Obama, upping his national profile along the way.
Next Thursday, Patrick is scheduled to campaign in Chicago with Obama after the governor attends a biotech conference in San Diego. A day later, he’ll make several appearances in Washington, including accepting an award from the National Partnership for Women and Families.
Patrick campaign spokesman Stephen Crawford brushed aside the speculation, saying: “The governor is looking forward to earning re-election in 2010. He intends to run on the proven Patrick-Murray ticket.”
Coakley, meanwhile, wouldn’t rule out a future run for the Corner Office but said she’s focused on her current job and getting re-elected in 2010.
“I love this job,” she said. “It’s too early to speculate about other jobs at this point. The governor has said he plans to stay and run for another term so I take that at face value.”
While Cahill has said in the past he would not take on a sitting Democrat in a governor’s race, yesterday his spokeswoman, Allison Mitchell, said: “There will be plenty of time for speculation if and when the governor makes his intentions known.”
Mitchell added, “Treasurer Cahill enjoys serving Massachusetts as treasurer, and at this time he is solely focused on his current job.”
Article URL: www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/politics/view.bg?articleid=1100019
"Cinema, Shaker site, Sabic to share $1.4M"
By Jack Dew, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Saturday, June 14, 2008
PITTSFIELD — The state awarded three grants totaling $1.4 million yesterday in Pittsfield, providing a cash boost to a downtown cinema project, Sabic Innovative Plastics and Hancock Shaker Village.
Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray announced the grants during a brief ceremony on the steps of City Hall. Flanked by members of the legislative delegation, city councilors and Mayor James M. Ruberto, he described the funds as central to the state's economic development plans and said they will build on Pittsfield's strengths.
"Granted, these are difficult economic times for the cities, towns and the state," Murray said. "That being said, we need to work together to find ways that we can partner with the business community and the nonprofit community to create jobs and expand the tax base."
The Beacon Cinema received the largest grant, an $825,000 contribution that will be used to reduce loans from the city and a coalition of banks for the $22.4 million project. Developer Richard Stanley — owner of the Triplex Cinema in Great Barrington — said he expects construction to begin in July and open in the fall or winter of 2009.
Sabic Innovative Plastics received a grant of $663,000 to train 195 career-level employees in leadership, financial management and communication. Sabic President and CEO Charlie Crew said the funds would help the company replace General Electric's training resources.
"We are ready to move quickly on this project and anticipate great results for our employees, the Berkshires and our company," Crew said.
And Hancock Shaker Village received $10,784 to provide computer training to 13 sales associates.
Murray said the administration's "No. 1 focus is job creation, and this is how you do it: Working and collaborating with municipal leaders, working with the business community and finding ways to leverage our strengths and our weaknesses in a thoughtful, strategic way. Clearly, the plan that Pittsfield has put forth on many fronts does just that."
The Beacon Cinema project has been years in the making, touted by its proponents as key to the North Street corridor, building on the successes of the Colonial Theatre, Barrington Stage and the Berkshire Museum. Through a complicated web of funding that involves private banks, Pittsfield, and state and federal tax credits, the backers plan to transform the Kinnell-Kresge building at 48-55 North St. into a six-screen cinema. The building is also expected to house a restaurant and a retail business.
According to city estimates, the theater will draw close to 250,000 people to the downtown each year while creating 46 jobs at the theater and the potential for 60 more from additional business growth among restaurants and nearby businesses.
Stanley said the cinema will be a "critical element" to the downtown, even helping attract new jobs to the area.
"When employers look at this area and want to know what people are going to do when they get here, the answer had always been a question mark, or they would have to go to a movie out of town," he said. "(This grant) has been a critical piece in the partnership, creating financing that will allow the cinema to go forward."
Before yesterday's announcement, Murray and members of his municipal cabinet met with city officials to discuss the downtown revitalization effort and the overall economic situation of the city. It was Murray's ninth such "listening session" in the state.
He said the administration wants to give cities and towns more tools to cope with their fiscal problems — from setting meals taxes to joining the state's insurance pool. "We have to explore ways to deliver services to constituents in a cost-effective and efficient way."
Andy "Luciforo" swears in Pittsfield Mayor Jimmy Ruberto in early-January 2008.
Berkshire Brigades: The Countywide Democratic Organization
To join us, or for more information, call 413-499-3520, or e-mail us at "Victory2008@BerkshireBrigades.org".
Mark Your Calendars!
Thursday, May 15th, 2008, Reception for Andrea Nuciforo, Central Berkshire Register of Deeds, Special Guest Lt. Governor Timothy P. Murray, 6 to 8 pm, The Italian-American Club, 203 Newell Street, Pittsfield, suggested donation: $25 - $50 - $100. RSVP to 413-281-3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lt. Govenor Tim Murray
Pittsfield's political inbred, dark prince: Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.! -(below)-
Somerville, Massachusetts (Wicked Local with news from the Somerville Journal)
Lt. Gov. Murray meets with mayors tomorrow, talks coming cuts
Thursday, October 09, 2008, 9:50 AM
Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray plans a meeting with mayors Friday, part of a string of sit-downs he's holding with stakeholders in the $28.2 billion state budget. Gov. Deval Patrick is seeking expanded budget-cutting authority from the legislature that would enable him to trim local aid accounts, but the legislature has not agreed to that.
A Patrick spokesman said the governor, who is preparing hundreds of millions of dollars in budget cuts, wanted to sit with the city bosses "to get their input."
"Everybody as you can well imagine is pretty anxious to find out what the approach in terms of 9C cuts will be," said Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, president of the Massachusetts Mayors' Association. "There's a lot of anxiety, a lot of concern."
Curtatone said he wasn't in favor of giving the governor expanded powers to cut local aid. "We certainly understand the commonwealth is cash-strapped, and it's exponentially worse given the economic climate," he said.
But he hopes to tell the Patrick administration to not "just slash and cut."
"You don't cut your way to success," he said. "We still have not recovered from the last round of 9C cuts from when Gov. Romney was in office."
Massachusetts Municipal Association Executive Director Geoffrey Beckwith said local government leaders are not expecting announcements Friday.
"It's a meeting to make sure there are strong communications through difficult times," said Beckwith.
Asked if the MMA was lobbying against Patrick's expanded budget-cutting requests, Beckwith said the MMA had not supported the expanded powers and has sought to emphasize the importance of local aid.
Members of groups representing non-profits and higher education institutes were in for meetings in the governor's office Wednesday. Quasi-public authority representatives showed up for a meeting with Murray at 4 pm.
Earlier, non-profit leaders outside Patrick's office, sporting "No on 1" pins, said they were pleased with the administration's attitude toward the looming reductions.
Flanked by local mayors, Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray (at microphone) addressed the media after meeting with the elected officials at the State House yesterday on Beacon Hill. (Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
"State layoffs imminent, lieutenant governor says"
By Matt Viser, Boston Globe Staff, October 11, 2008
Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray warned yesterday that layoffs to the state's workforce will be announced next week. Although the administration previously had said there would be impacts to state employees, it was the strongest indication that people would lose their jobs as a result of a decline in state revenues.
"There will be layoffs that will occur," Murray said at a press conference after he emerged from an hourlong meeting with mayors from across the state. He did not provide specifics.
Murray and Governor Deval Patrick summoned Massachusetts mayors to the State House yesterday for a closed-door briefing on the deteriorating condition of the state budget. The 27 mayors who came to Beacon Hill - and 10 more on a conference call - said they were relieved to hear that local aid payments from the state will most likely be spared from the first round of budget cuts. The future outlook is uncertain.
"I feel much better coming out than I did going in," said Mayor Kimberley Driscoll of Salem. "The governor is being clear - local aid cuts are a last resort, and he wants to do everything he can to prevent that. That's good news."
But other corners of state government will not be spared. With state revenues falling $188 million behind expectations in September, and $143 million behind expectations for the first quarter, Patrick is planning to announce "hundreds of millions of dollars" in budget cuts next week. Education advocates, state lawmakers, and nonprofit groups have spent the week worried what programs and jobs will be targeted.
Patrick, who can unilaterally impose cuts to about two-thirds of the state budget, has been seeking expanded powers from the Legislature that would allow him to cut local aid. Patrick addressed the mayors yesterday at the beginning of the closed-door meeting, but then left for other meetings with his staff without making any public comments.
He emerged from his office to a pack of reporters, but declined to take questions as he stood uncomfortably with two aides at the elevator.
Patrick has spent much of the week meeting with his staff and various interest groups, trying to figure out a solution to the budget crunch. As an indication of the depth of the crisis, Patrick indefinitely postponed a trip to Israel scheduled for November that was supposed to build ties for the state's biotech industry and other trade links.
But this weekend, Patrick will campaign in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Ohio for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. He plans to be back at work on Monday, but Republicans yesterday criticized the governor for campaigning instead of staying in Massachusetts to focus on the budget.
"He's yet again taking his eye off the ball," said Barney Keller, spokesman for the state Republican Party.
Although yesterday's assertion about local aid cuts being a "last resort" was good for local officials, state officials have been careful to avoid ruling out cuts to local aid in the future. The mayors are bracing for the worst.
"We all know we're facing a crisis," Mayor Joseph Curtatone of Somerville, president of the Massachusetts Mayors' Association, said after the meeting. "We all know there's pain in what might lie ahead."
Mayor Michael J. Sullivan of Lawrence said he is already starting to make plans for a 7 percent cut to the city's $230 million budget, in anticipation that the state will cut into local aid down the road. "We're hopeful it's not something that's going to happen," Murray said, when asked about local aid cuts. "The situation is obviously very fluid. We can't predict what's going to happen with the economy. But we're going to do everything we can with the information that we have in front of us to avoid those types of cuts."
Murray also said the administration plans to revive revenue-generating legislation that failed this year to gain traction in the Legislature. The legislation includes local options to allow municipalities to raise taxes on meals and hotel rooms.
The money helps cities and towns pay for everything from teachers to trash collection, and when the state cuts the funds, services may be cut and fees may be raised.
Cutting local aid would put Patrick on the same path as his predecessor, Republican Mitt Romney, who slashed local aid in 2003.
At the time, Romney faced a similar budget crisis, with a shortfall nearing $650 million. He cut $344 million in spending, including $114 million from local aid and $133 million from health and human service programs.
He also cut $41 million from education, including $16 million from public colleges and universities.
Tempers flared so badly that Mayor John Barrett of North Adams accused Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom of bumping him with his chest and showering him with expletives after they appeared jointly on a television program.
It's an atmosphere that Patrick is hoping to avoid, in part by hosting the mayors yesterday. The administration is planning to hold a separate briefing next week for town managers and other local officials.
Matt Viser can be reached at email@example.com.
"Murray leads bus trip to N.H., touts importance of Patrick’s relationship with Obama"
By Jeremy P. Jacobs, PolitickerMA.com Reporter
Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, in route to New Hampshire Saturday to volunteer for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and other Democrats in the Granite State, said Gov. Deval Patrick's close relationship with Obama would greatly help Massachusetts if Obama is elected.
In a phone interview from the bus to New Hampshire, Murray told PolitickerMA.com that there are approximately 100 people from Worcester on two buses, one filled with adults and another filled predominantly with college students. The buses, Murray said, are heading to Franklin, near Concord, to canvass.
Asked why he pulled the trip together, Murray, a Worcester Democrat, noted the importance of this year's election.
"It's the most important presidential election in my life, given where the country is at economically, the way we are viewed around the world and the situation in Iraq an Afghanistan," Murray said. "We need a president that is going to internationally restore people's trust in the country and who is willing to work cooperatively, not unilaterally around the world."
Murray also said that, if he's elected, Obama's personal relationship with Gov. Deval Patrick would greatly benefit the Bay State. He referenced the state's recent efforts to get the reauthorization of the federal Medicaid waiver, and said that with a President Obama, Massachusetts would have a direct line to the White House.
"Politics and government is a lot about relationships and trust," Murray said. "Having a governor that can pick up the phone and have access to the president and his cabinet is going to make a huge difference in terms of development of policy and legislation."
Murray also said Patrick's close friendship with Obama would help Massachusetts secure federal resources to help rebuild infrastructure and fund other projects.
"On so many different issues," Murray said, "having that close relationship will be beneficial to the country and to Massachusetts."
Murray is one of a few Bay State pols that are heading to New Hampshire this weekend. U.S. Sen. John Kerry is there today, as is Congresswoman Niki Tsongas .
JEREMY P. JACOBS is a PolitickerMA.com Reporter and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Lt. Gov. Tim Murray: ‘I’m ready’ to lead if Deval Patrick skips town"
By Hillary Chabot, Friday, November 7, 2008, www.bostonherald.com, Local Politics
Lt. Gov. Tim Murray says he’s prepared to take over the Corner Office despite Gov. Deval Patrick’s insistence that he’ll seek re-election rather than an Obama administration post.
Murray, speaking after Patrick’s pal Barack Obama won the White House, said he took the job knowing he may have to grab the reins.
“When you run as lieutenant governor, you run knowing that you may have to step in at a moment’s notice,” Murray told the Herald. “I’m ready to do that.”
Patrick, a close friend and supporter of Obama, has repeatedly said he would not accept offers of a federal post. Murray, who ramped up his fund-raising machine this year, hurriedly added that even though he is ready, he expects his boss to stick around.
“Everything I see backs up what he’s said publicly,” Murray said. “He’s focused, he’s engaged, he’s not looking to put anything off. I’m confident we’ll both be on the ballot two years from now.”
A Patrick spokesman lauded Murray’s preparedness. “The lieutenant governor is absolutely prepared to be governor, which is why he is such an important partner in this administration and why the governor looks forward to running for re-election with him,” said spokesman Kyle Sullivan.
Article URL: www.bostonherald.com/news/politics/view.bg?articleid=1130620
"'Housing First': Stability vital for the homeless"
By Lyle Moran, Berkshire Eagle Statehouse Bureau, Monday, December 29, 2008
BOSTON — In 2006, 39-year-old Leticia Brown entered the House of Hope homeless shelter in Lowell. The shelter was a source of support during one of the low points in her life, but Brown had to abide by its many rules and regulations.
"The shelter was a huge blessing for me, but I felt like I didn't have control of my life," Brown said.
On Mother's Day 2007, Brown, a mother of two, moved into one of House of Hope's apartments for low-income residents as part of the organization's goal of finding permanent housing for its shelter population. Brown, who now works in the housing department of a local non profit, said getting her own space has given her a more positive outlook along with more independence and privacy.
"Once you get an apartment it is a whole new life," Brown said. "I feel motivated, proud and confident. I also can cook and eat whenever I want." House of Hope's strategy is known as "Housing First," a growing approach to end homelessness by securing housing for the homeless, rather than the continued reliance on shelter systems.
The philosophy moves support services, including medical and mental health care, case management and vocational training, from the shelter to the home setting. The primary focus is providing long-term help in a stable place, instead of an emergency shelter, for those who have been homeless for over a year or in a shelter at least four times annually. Most of this target group struggles with a mental illness.
"Housing is the absolute foundation for everything people can achieve in their lives," said Deb Chausse, executive director of House of Hope. "It enables education, employment and taking advantage of community resources."
Gov. Deval L. Patrick's administration has thrown its support behind the Housing First model, joining providers and advocates across the commonwealth. A major thrust came on Dec. 16 with an $8.25 million award to help eight regions in the state begin the switch to the new strategy. The fund was recommended in the Massachusetts Commission to End Homelessness' 5-year plan to eliminate homelessness in the state by 2013, and survived Patrick's budget cuts in October.
According to Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, the chair of the state's Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness, most of the money will help local agencies work together to implement Housing First plans, place people in housing and provide funds to help people stay in their housing.
"At the end of the day we want people to try to work together for the mission of housing people long-term for their health and economic betterment," Murray said. "We believe Housing First will drastically stem the tide of those at risk of being homeless, or in a hotel or motel." The new funding comes at an opportune time. By the end of November, 2,565 homeless families were being served by the Department of Transitional Assistance — a record high and almost 100 more than September. All 2,900 beds available statewide for individuals are filled, forcing communities to move people into motels. More than 650 families are in motels across the state, led by Cambridge (82 families) and Brockton (76).
As the housing crisis and economic recession continue, the numbers are likely to rise. The rise in homelessness has increased support for Housing First among providers and policy advocates.
In 2005 Quincy announced a 10-year, Housing First style plan to end homelessness. The city has seen a 52 percent drop in chronically homeless residents from 142 to 62 people between January 2004 and January 2008, according to John Yazwinski, the CEO of Father Bill's shelter in Quincy. This drop helped reduce emergency room visits in Quincy and provided stability to those who got housing, Yazwinski said.
"Many of the people we didn't think could be housed were able to be housed with the right supports," Yazwinski said. "They are no longer ricocheting in and out of systems of care." The South Middlesex Opportunity Council, a Framingham-based social agency started a Housing First program in October 2006, converting a Framingham homeless shelter into a resource center where the homeless could go for help and counseling to get them into housing.
From October 2006 to September 2007 the number of people entering the Framingham shelter was reduced to 641 compared to 1,000 the year before. The average length of shelter stay was reduced from 90 to 30 days during that time and 40 percent of the 549 people who left the shelter were placed in housing.
Katie E. , who asked that her last named not be used, is one of the council's success stories. Diagnosed with schizophrenia after finishing college, Katie was homeless for several years and hospitalized numerous times. In 2006, she entered one of the council's houses. She was connected with behavioral health services and participated in a day program.
"The house gave me a stable place to be and all the women there helped each other out," Katie said.
Last month, the 30-year-old moved into her own apartment where she is visited by a mental health department case manager. Katie said she is still adjusting to her new place, but feels much more stable.
"A lot of times in the house there would be chaos and I would have to deal with other people's problems on top of my own," Katie said. "It is much more peaceful now. I have had the longest streak of stability I've had in a long time." Springfield implemented a 10-year Housing First plan to end homelessness in January 2007, reducing the number of chronically homeless individuals needing shelter from 149 to 107 - a decrease of 28 percent - during the first year, according to Geraldine McCafferty, deputy director of the Springfield Office of Housing.
"Taking the chronically homeless out of the shelter has taken a lot of burden off the system," McCafferty said.
The Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance, a policy advocacy group for the homeless that represents 88 agencies, has run a state-funded pilot program, Home and Healthy for Good, since 2006.
The program helped secure housing for 275 of its 336 participants, who had been homeless an average of 5. 6 years. The alliance found that for each tenant, the state spent an average of $7,224 less on housing and state services than they have for a person in a shelter.
"For too many people, the emergency shelter has become the housing niche for the poorest of the poor," said Joe Finn, the executive director of the shelter alliance. "Housing First is more efficient and effective, and we have seen reductions in healthcare costs in particular." Phillip Mangano, executive director of the U. S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which includes top officials from 20 federal agencies, applauds Massachusetts's support of the more cost-effective policy.
Mangano cites 65 cost studies from across the country that have found a sheltered person costs between $35,000 and $100,000 a year while a person in housing with supportive services costs between $13,000 and $25,000.
"People who are on our streets or who are in shelters long term are some of the most expensive to the public purse," Mangano said.
The interagency council encourages municipalities across the country to create 10-year plans to end homelessness. Mangano is thrilled that 14 communities in Massachusetts, including Lowell and Fall River, have taken that step.
"If you look at the plans around Massachusetts, the thing they have most in common is their commitment to innovative ideas," Mangano said. "Massachusetts has shown a great sensitivity to ending homelessness." Mangano points to Lowell's plan as a model of success because it is innovative, has political will behind it, along with support from the business community.
Promoting affordable housing is also a major component of the state's Housing First strategy. Patrick signed a $1. 3 billion housing bond bill in May that will boost the commonwealth's efforts to create and sustain affordable housing over the next five years.
"We need to work with housing authorities and private developers to refurbish older buildings or build new houses, so that we have more affordable housing units," Murray said.
But not all are enthusiastic about new spending for Housing First. An economist at the conservative-leaning Beacon Hill Institute believes it is not the time for the Legislature to invest $8. 25 million in the plan.
"We should be addressing the root causes of homelessness and to address many of the root causes there doesn't need to be a single dollar being spent," said Benjamin Powell, a senior economist at the institute. Pulster, however, believes that even with the state budget crisis homelessness will be substantially reduced because of the commonwealth's commitment to Housing First regionally.
"We think with regional approaches we will be better positioned to respond to the current increase in homelessness and leverage resources to deal with it," Pulster said. "We will see the reduction in the need for shelters."
Lyle Moran is a Sun correspondent through the Boston University Statehouse program.
"Governor cashes in on lobbyists: Denies dough at odds with ethics reform"
By Hillary Chabot & Michele McPhee, Friday, February 6, 2009, www.bostonherald.com, Local Politics
Gov. Deval Patrick, touting his efforts to scrub state agencies clean of lobbyists, has no problem raking in thousands in campaign cash from those same special-interest groups - many of whom have business before his Corner Office.
Patrick tucked into his budget a provision banning state agencies from using lobbyists, while pocketing nearly $700,000 last year, mostly from Bay State power players, one of whose clients won a $400,000 state contract in January.
“The public is understandably suspect when they see this kind of money in political campaigns,” said Common Cause executive director Pam Wilmot. “There is an appearance of pay to play.”
The consulting firm Deloitte & Touche in January won a $400,000 contract to help the state divvy up expected federal stimulus cash.
Members of the company’s lobbying firm, Bay State Strategies, donated nearly $2,000 to Patrick in the past three years.
“You can’t on the one hand say, ‘We need to do something about this and get rid of them,’ and then on the other hand say, ‘I’ll take your money,’ ” said one lobbyist who regularly does business in the State House but asked not to be named.
Patrick spokesman Joe Landolfi heatedly denied any connection between lobbyist donations and the contract. Deloitte & Touche were one of three approved companies for the job, Landolfi said, and they were the only ones to respond to the state’s bid request.
“They are a well-regarded international consulting firm, and we felt comfortable awarding this to them,” Landolfi said. The state didn’t deal with any lobbyists during the contracting process, Landolfi said.
Mintz Levin, whose lobbying division ML Strategies represents clean energy and health care firms, raised nearly $17,000 from 45 donors for Patrick after one December fund-raiser alone.
The governor unveiled a new wind power goal on Jan. 13, to boost state wind power use to 2,000 megawatts by 2020. Patrick’s wind power announcement was part of his longstanding “commitment to clean energy,” Landolfi said.
“Any criticism of this is really nonsensical. Our budget seeks to penalize lobbyists. It would prohibit state agencies from utilizing public funds to hire lobbyists,” Landolfi said. “It goes hand and hand with the governor’s recent ethics reform.”
Critics say the special interest cash doesn’t square with Patrick’s well-honed political image. The Milton Democrat ran as an outsider who wouldn’t be influenced by lobbyists or big industry agents and has since filed a stringent ethics reform bill that takes aim at lobbying donations.
“It certainly flies in the face of everything he said he would do when he ran for governor,” said Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei (R-Wakefield). “At this point, Deval Patrick the governor has morphed into something totally different than he was during his campaign.”
Article URL: www.bostonherald.com/news/politics/view.bg?articleid=1150330
"Lt. Gov. Murray topped fundraising pack in 2008"
By Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press Writer, February 9, 2009
BOSTON --His name won't be on the ballot until next year, but Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray spent much of 2008 flexing his fundraising muscles.
Murray raked in more than $1 million last year, about a quarter of that in a December fundraising blitz. That's a jump from the roughly $626,000 he raised in 2007.
Murray's fundraising surge comes as campaign donations for the top office holder at the Statehouse, Gov. Deval Patrick, slipped. Patrick's fundraising dipped to $709,000 last year, from nearly $897,000 in 2007.
Treasurer Timothy Cahill came in third with about $511,000 in 2008, followed by Attorney General Martha Coakley with about $489,000. Cahill is a Democrat who has not ruled out challenging Patrick for their party's nomination.
"...As always, I look forward to your thoughts and comments about this, so feel free to email me directly at LtGovOffice@state.ma.us with any ideas or concerns you have. By working together, I know we can make progress."
- Tim Murray
'Irish Person of the Year'
"Hillcrest to honor Lt. Gov. Murray"
By David Pepose, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Monday, March 9, 2009
PITTSFIELD — The lieutenant governor will be feeling the luck of the Irish next month at Hillcrest Educational Centers' Eighth Annual Robert "Bees" Prendergast St. Patrick's Celebration.
Timothy P. Murray, the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, has been named Hillcrest's "Irish Person of the Year," according to the center's director of development, Steve Conroy.
"Elected officials have a tremendously difficult job, and we support their work for special education for treatment programs for Hillcrest," said Conroy. "Any time we can one of the elected officials, especially from the Boston area, to the Berkshires, it's great for Hillcrest, and great for our entire community."
Hillcrest Educational Centers helps students with behavioral issues with specialized education and treatment. The March 18 event will include dinner and Irish-themed entertainment, including music by the Brody Mountain Boys and performances by the Rosemary Campbell School of Irish Dance.
One element of the award that Conroy was hesitant to discuss was the roasting typically given to its recipient. In the past, the roasters have included the mayors of Pittsfield and North Adams, as well as members of the Berkshire County legislative delegation.
Also receiving accolades at the event are the Berkshire Life Insurance Co. of America and the Berkshire Life Charitable Foundation, which will receive the "Judge John A. Barry Community Service Award." Conroy said that the award was given because of the organizations' contributions to its technology, outdoor education and Hillcrest Dental Care programs.
"One of the reasons we chose them was for the number of wonderful things they've done not only for Hillcrest but all the other organizations they've helped in the Berkshires," Conroy said. "They are some of the most committed, passionate folks who really believe in doing whatever they can to support those in need in the Berkshires."
"Local Irish laud Murray"
By Derek Gentile, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Thursday, March 19, 2009
PITTSFIELD — Although being of Irish descent sometimes means enjoying a good meal and good friends, Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray explained that it also entails social awareness and political activism.
"It means participating in politics," he said. "It means that in government at any level, people matter."
Murray was honored last night at the Eighth Annual St. Patrick's Celebration as the "Irishman of the Year." The event, held at the Berkshire Hills Country Club, drew more than 250 supporters, according to organizers. Proceeds go to the Hillcrest Educational Centers, Inc.
In his remarks, Murray admitted that when he was appraised of the award, he began thinking about what being Irish means. He decided that in addition to being appreciative of a good party, it also entails "a degree of social activism. Of people coming together to solve problems."
Hillcrest Educational Centers, Murray said, have a similar mission.
"I'm blown away by the work done at Hillcrest," Murray admitted. Murray's remarks were part of a two-hour program that also included a performance by the Irish Step Dancers of the Rosemary Campbell School of Irish Dance, as well as remarks from North Adams Mayor John Barrett III, who roasted both Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto and Murray in the span of about 7 minutes.
"The reason I'm here," said Barrett, "is because Jimmy Ruberto is out of town and the potholes in the streets are pretty big. Somebody has to take the hit. I accept that. I understand it."
He noted that Murray served three terms as the mayor of Worcester before he became Lt. Governor, "although he was actually a 'fake' governor, because he had a city manager."
But, said Barrett, "as a former educator, I understand the importance of a place like Hillcrest, how important their mission is to community
"Lt. gov’s staff chief gets new UMass Medical post: Right-hand man for job
By Jay Fitzgerald
Wednesday, May 13, 2009, www.bostonherald.com - Business & Markets
Lt. Gov. Tim Murray’s chief of staff Jim Leary has landed a newly created six-figure job at the University of Massachusetts Medical School despite widespread cutbacks throughout the UMass system.
The appointment of Leary, a former state representative from Worcester, comes as UMass Medical School beefs up its community relations and economic development units.
Two other six-figure vice chancellor posts are also being created and the total annual bill for the three new positions could run about $500,000.
Leary, who begins his new job next month as associate vice chancellor of community affairs, will be paid $104,000, the same salary he’s now making as Murray’s right-hand man on Beacon Hill.
The new job was posted and received a total of 38 applications, said a UMass spokesman, adding that Leary, a Worcester native and cousin of comedian Denis Leary, had an “interesting background” in law, politics and government that qualified him for the position.
But Barbara Anderson, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation, expressed frustration that UMass was hiring a well-connected ex-lawmaker for a new community affairs job at a time when state finances are tanking.
“I guess it’s further evidence we don’t really have a fiscal crisis,” she said, sarcastically. “At least they could try to fool people into thinking (the state) is in trouble.”
But UMass Medical School spokesman Mark Shelton said the medical school, while it has recently undergone some budget cutbacks and layoffs, is still a growing institution in Worcester. Only about $40 million of its $800 million budget comes directly from the state, he said.
Anderson shot back that it doesn’t matter whether funds come from the state or federal governments. “The federal government doesn’t have any money either,” she said.
Leary, whose old Beacon Hill job with Murray will be filled from within, declined comment, as did Murray, the former mayor of Worcester.
The entire UMass system’s state appropriation was slashed by $27 million last October, in the middle of the current fiscal year, as the state grapples with plummeting tax revenues.
"Despite ethics bill, lobbyists carry on: Fund-raisers still a key resource for politicians"
By Frank Phillips, Boston Globe Staff, June 25, 2009
Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray is scheduled to glad-hand his way through a room full of State House lobbyists and their clients at the offices of a Beacon Street lobbying company today, hoping to pick up a sizable bundle of campaign donations for his campaign committee.
And because the Legislature decided not to ban lobbyists from raising political funds for politicians in the ethics bill it is poised to approve, Murray can do it without a single pang of hypocrisy.
The Murray fund-raiser marks an awkward juxtaposition as Beacon Hill prepares to pass the first significant ethics overhaul in Massachusetts in a generation.
As Murray pockets campaign contributions from lobbyists, Patrick, a half block away at the State House, will be combing through the details of an ethics bill that the Legislature is expected to pass today. Patrick will also head their ticket in next year’s reelection campaign.
Patrick had demanded that the package include major changes to campaign finance laws. The Senate was pushing to ban lobbyist donations. The House wanted a study committee to consider how regulators could prohibit lobbyists from soliciting funds.
Among the items that hit the cutting-room floor were proposals to toughen restrictions on the kind of lobbyist-sponsored fund-raiser that is being thrown for Murray today.
The event is being sponsored by two lobbing firms, Morrissey & Associates and The Moynihan Group.
Murray declined to comment, but Michael Cohen, his political adviser, said: “We play by the rules. If the rules get changed, we will play by the changed rules.’’
The fund-raising breakfast is being held at Sean Morrissey’s office on the 11th floor of 6 Beacon St., where he heads a firm that represents the drug firm Eli Lilly and Internet powerhouse Google.
Sean Moynihan, founder and principal of the Moynihan group, touts his firm as a lobbying outfit, although it has not registered with the secretary of state’s office. Neither Morrissey or Moynihan responded to calls yesterday.
Current law caps a lobbyist’s donation to a candidate at $200 a year. A lobbyist cannot give more than $12,500 in donations overall in one year. But lobbyists can solicit and host fund-raising events, as long as they do not personally collect the checks and hand them to the candidate.
Patrick, who will have access to Murray’s fund when they run as a team next year, would not comment, according to his spokesman Joseph Landolfi.
As incumbents, Murray and Patrick have been able to stuff their political accounts full of donations from registered lobbyists and their clients, as have the Legislature’s leaders. Despite the $200-a-year restriction, lobbyists are able to raise tens of thousands of dollars by hosting fund-raising parties where their clients can socialize with officeholders and write checks to their campaign committees.
In their first year in office, Murray and Patrick had raised more than $1.4 million in combined campaign contributions, much of it from the special interest groups that the two had denounced as having too much influence when they ran in the 2006 election.
Last year, Murray turned to Robert M. Platt, a State House lobbyist and Republican fund-raiser, for help in building a campaign finance network. Platt had supported Patrick’s 2006 opponent, Republican Kerry Healey. He also supported former governor Mitt Romney’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Globe reports about Platt’s controversial business background led to his ouster from Murray’s finance team.
The lawmakers also rejected efforts by Patrick aides to lower the limit on donations to state political parties from $5,000 a year to $500, a change that could have dealt a serious blow to Charles D. Baker, the Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare president who is widely considered the most serious potential Republican challenger to Patrick’s reelection bid. The change would create a serious hurdle to Baker’s efforts to raise much-needed funds over the next year in conjunction with the financially strapped GOP state committee, which can financially back his campaign.
A senior Patrick administration official confirmed that the governor’s aides were pushing to lower the level for party donations, while Republican lawmakers lobbied heavily to keep the $5,000 donation level.
In turn, the Legislature tweaked Patrick by blocking his use of a campaign finance loophole that has allowed him to skirt the $500 annual contribution limits for individuals.
The compromise bill adopted a Senate provision that would prohibit his use of a special committee for which he can raise $5,500 donations from individuals, splitting it between his committee and the Democratic State Committee, which then picks up much of campaign costs.
"Murray denies interest in seeking other office"
By Jim O’Sullivan, State House News Service, July 17, 2009
Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray sought late yesterday to tamp down rumors he was eyeing office outside Governor Deval Patrick’s reelection ticket, rejecting rumors he was looking at running for another statewide or federal office.
Murray, a former Worcester mayor who has occasionally ventured outside the tightly held Patrick press operation to parry criticism of the governor, has repeatedly shot down rumors that he was weighing runs for the Senate, state treasurer, or state attorney general.
“I don’t know how I can say it any clearer,’’ Murray said during a telephone interview late yesterday.
“I am 110 percent focused on running as lieutenant governor with Governor Patrick in 2010,’’ he said.
Murray is also a former district attorney and has been heavily rumored as a candidate for higher statewide or federal office.
The state’s political picture is clouded by the ill health of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, diagnosed with brain cancer. With almost 70 years incumbency combined for the state’s two senators, a long backlog of would-be successors has assembled.
President Obama has credited Kennedy with playing a role in absentia in the development of healthcare legislation the White House is hoping will pass this summer.
Murray was initially viewed with some suspicion by Patrick’s close advisers, in part because of his coziness with Patrick’s rival, former attorney general Thomas Reilly.
Before Reilly opted for state Representative Marie P. St. Fleur, Murray had wanted to be on his ticket as the lieutenant governor candidate.
Murray’s willingness, though, to toe the administration line and go after its critics has endeared him to senior Patrick aides, particularly as he has handled aspects of Patrick’s portfolio with municipal officials and, increasingly in recent days, gone on the attack against critics of Patrick, accusing Senate minority leader Richard R. Tisei of preferring funding for the wildlife in state-subsidized zoos over health and human services.
It has been an occasional role for Murray, stepping in front of the official administration line to push an agenda.
Senior Bay State Democrats say a deterioration in Kennedy’s condition could push other Massachusetts politicians closer to revealing their intentions.
Lt. Gov. Tim Murray (Photo by Nancy Lane; file).
"Tim Murray said to have hard climb to another post"
By Hillary Chabot, Saturday, July 18, 2009, www.bostonherald.com - Local Politics
Lt. Gov. Tim Murray has shelled out more than $40,000 this year on voter data and statewide polling to assess his political options, but pundits say the Worcester Democrat has an uphill battle if he wants to nab a different constitutional office.
“You haven’t really heard much about him and he hasn’t had a big presence,” said Jeff Gerson, a political professor at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. “He was better known when he was the mayor of Worcester.”
Murray and a spokesman have strongly denied a Beacon Hill buzz that he is eyeing a run for state treasurer or attorney general.
But Murray has clearly been preparing for the campaign season ahead, spending $23,000 on a statewide poll in March to gauge his political mettle. He also shelled out $11,500 on “opinion research” in January and has dropped $6,000 on voter data since January, according to his campaign finance records.
“He’s looking at a quantitative mirror to see how politically good he looks,” said Jeff Berry, a Tufts University political professor. “It’s a matter of gauging his strengths.”
Murray, 41, has been a fund-raising powerhouse but could baffle voters if he decided to run for another statewide office, said Berry.
“I think that would be a head scratcher. People would regard him as abandoning a sinking ship and view him as disloyal,” said Berry, referring to Gov. Deval Patrick’s campaign.
Several pieces within the Massachusetts political landscape are shifting, bringing a wave of new statewide candidates and prompting higher office hopefuls who have been waiting in the wings to gear up.
Patrick already faces two Republican challengers with former Harvard Pilgrim CEO Charles Baker and convenience store magnate Christy Mihos. Attorney General Martha Coakley has strong interest in a U.S. Senate seat, and Treasurer Tim Cahill switched his voter registration to unenrolled as he prepares to take Patrick on.
“I’m sure Murray’s doing things quietly, maybe he’s kept some of his old connections,” Gerson said.
Jerry Mileur, a University of Massachusetts at Amherst political professor, said Murray hasn’t been able to make much of a mark on the administration.
“Lieutenant governors are like vice presidents, they do what the governor asks them to do and they don’t have a separate identity,” said Mileur. “If he’s looking to other offices, I expect he’d want to establish himself.”
"Lt. Gov. Murray leading effort to rebuild his ranks"
By Associated Press, Wednesday, July 22, 2009, www.bostonherald.com - Local Politics
Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray is leading a push to revitalize the nation’s Democratic lieutenant governor’s association, as he and Gov. Deval Patrick gear up for a re-election campaign.
The No. 2 Democrat in Massachusetts is participating in a conference call Thursday to announce fresh emphasis behind the Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association.
Murray is serving as the group’s secretary/treasurer. Its chairman is Lt. Gov. Bill Halter of Arkansas, while its vice chairman is Lt. Gov. John Cherry of Michigan.
Murray recently fended off reports he might run for attorney general or some other post amid speculation he was agitated with some Patrick administration proposals and concerned about a Republican gubernatorial challenge next year by former Harvard Pilgrim Health Care President Charles Baker.
The Boston Globe, Op-Ed
TIMOTHY P. MURRAY
"New hope for the homeless"
By Timothy P. Murray, July 26, 2009
THE NUMBER of homeless families housed in motels across Massachusetts is at a peak. This unfortunate statistic is both an indicator of the hard times wrought by the economic climate and stark evidence that the approach state government has used over the years to address homelessness has not solved the problem.
Homelessness is a complex and heart-wrenching issue, but we must do our best to address it. Early in our administration, Governor Patrick asked me to lead the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness, with a mission of breaking down bureaucratic barriers and finding better ways to deal with the issue so that we can end homelessness in Massachusetts.
On July 1, we took an important step toward that goal. While much of the focus in the news has been on major reforms in pension, transportation, and ethics, there have also been significant reforms to state homelessness programs.
Based on 18 months of work by the council, and following on the recommendations of the Massachusetts Commission to End Homelessness, we have shifted our approach on homelessness from a sheltering model to a “housing first’’ model. We have overhauled the state’s existing emergency shelter system and reorganized the state agencies that provide homelessness services.
As of July 1, shelter programs previously under the Department of Transitional Assistance were combined with the state’s housing resources under the Department of Housing and Community Development. This allows us to better coordinate and streamline services through a single entity, the department’s new Division of Housing Stabilization, and to shift the focus away from emergency shelter use to permanent housing. Our goal is to get the right resources to the right people at the right time to prevent homelessness and rapidly re-house those who are already homeless.
In addition, with support from the Legislature and with help from The Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation, we have established 10 regional networks across the Commonwealth, bringing together agencies involved in the housing and support continuum that did not always communicate effectively before. In almost all areas across the state, these networks are up and running and will help us to intervene sooner, with integrated services focused on securing permanent housing options for at-risk individuals and families, and ultimately lessening the need for emergency assistance in shelters or motels.
MassHousing is also investing $7 million over four years to provide rental support subsidies combined with employment assistance and an asset-building component to keep at-risk families in their homes. This complements the administration’s efforts to increase funding to operate and repair the state’s 50,000 public housing apartments that serve our neediest families and seniors, and to direct federal funds to support housing for extremely low-income people.
Preventing homelessness means keeping children stable in one school, almost guaranteeing better academic performance. It saves school districts the cost of transporting children back to their previous school, if their family chooses, and it enables people to find and keep jobs more easily because they are not being shuttled between relatives’ or friends’ houses and shelters. Moreover, helping people stay in their homes costs a fraction of what it costs to house a family in a shelter or motel.
With the recent reforms and reorganization, as well as the establishment of regional networks focused on a housing-first strategy, the state has made a fundamental change in its approach to helping those at-risk of homelessness. These strategies should end the need for emergency motel placements, and help us achieve our goal of ending homelessness.
Timothy P. Murray is the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: YVONNE ABRAHAM
"Anonymity, round two"
By Yvonne Abraham, Globe Columnist, September 30, 2009
Massachusetts is a study in political ambition right now, with legions of hopefuls up and down the political food chain salivating over possible vacancies.
But one guy is staying put: Tim Murray, our lieutenant governor.
In case anybody had any doubt, Murray issued a statement a few weeks ago telling his supporters he would not be running for the US Senate seat left vacant by Ted Kennedy’s death. Some ungenerous souls point out that Murray wasn’t actually on a lot of short lists in the first place. And earlier this year, Murray put the kibosh on speculation - fueled by his frenetic fund-raising and electoral temperature-taking - that he would be running for attorney general or some other office.
No. Despite the fact that others are leaving Governor Deval Patrick’s administration like rodents jumping, or being pushed, off a sinking proverbial, Murray says he is happy where he is and committed to continuing the work he and Patrick began.
“Absolutely, I am running for reelection, and I’m looking forward to the campaign,’’ he says.
Besides, a lot of people have no idea who Murray is. Almost half the respondents in a July Globe poll said they had never heard of the lieutenant governor (though 63 percent of those who know him viewed him favorably). Murray’s own polling in February told him the same thing. “I know I’m not a household name,’’ he says with a chuckle.
That’s how it usually goes with our state’s second fiddles. They show up where the governor can’t, leading unglamorous working groups, presiding over those somnolent Governor’s Council meetings on Wednesdays. They all want to be governor one day, and Murray admits he is no exception. But their fortunes are directly tied to their number ones. That’s good if your governor is insanely popular. Patrick isn’t.
Despite all this, the boyish-looking former Worcester mayor takes immense pride in his work on homelessness, veterans’ issues, and transportation: Just last week, he helped finalize a deal with railroad company CSX that will bump up rail service between Worcester and Boston and advance an eternally anticipated rail line to the South Coast.
He is settling into the role of administration pit bull, laying into gubernatorial hopeful Tim Cahill and Republicans on Patrick’s behalf. He’s the guy who delivers bad news about budget cuts to mayors and fields their gripes and requests.
Murray is the governor’s unlikeliest possible partner: an old-school, Claddagh-ring-wearing pol who gets back-scratching and payback in a way Patrick never will, or would want to. The lieutenant governor remembers his friends, and his enemies: He may have left the mayor’s job in 2007, but he still keeps a hand in Worcester politics. He is currently devoting considerable energy to unseating his old nemesis, Mayor Konnie Lukes.
So how does this affable, bare-knuckled 41-year-old respond to Patrick’s political miscalculations, from the decision to outfit his office with ridiculously expensive curtains to his appointment of a state senator to a plum post for which she had virtually no qualifications?
He doesn’t. You know Murray has got to be driven crazy by this stuff. But he keeps a lid on it publicly. The only frustration he will cop to is over the fact that a lot of the Patrick administration’s achievements have been obscured by the economic downturn.
“Sometimes the politics was tougher than it needed to be, but things got done,’’ Murray said in an interview at his campaign headquarters, where a portrait of his two daughters, adopted from Guatemala, hang on a wall. “There’s not a manual out there for how to be governor in the greatest downturn since the Depression.’’
Murray is hoping the economy recovers in time for next year’s election. His own future depends on it.
Yvonne Abraham is a Globe columnist. She can be reached at email@example.com.
"Lt. governor attacks Baker running mate pick"
By Thomas Grillo, Monday, November 23, 2009, www.bostonherald.com - Local Politics
Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray blasted the selection of Sen. Richard Tisei as gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Baker’s running mate, calling him the ultimate Beacon Hill insider.
“Senator Tisei is a 25-year State House insider who typifies the Republican establishment elite that created record levels of debt and deferred maintenance,” Murray said. “I was a quarterback on my high school football team when Sen. Tisei started serving in the Legislature. We look forward to debating him on the issues and the future of Massachusetts.”
Baker and the Tisei, a Wakefield Republican and Senate minority leader, will face convenience store magnate Christy Mihos in the Republican primary. The winner of that race will compete against state Treasurer Tim Cahill, who is running as an Independent, and Gov. Deval Patrick next year.
Murray said Baker is no outsider either. “When Baker was secretary of administration and finance under two Republican governors, he was part of the Big Dig financing plan which is the major factor in creating record levels of debt Massachusetts taxpayers are paying,” he said.
A spokesman for the Baker/Tisei campaign released a statement saying, “If you’re Tim Murray and Deval Patrick and you don’t have a leg to stand on because you’ve spent, taxed and mismanaged the state into a severe fiscal crisis, I guess all you can do is launch inaccurate negative attacks to try and trick the voters.
“Of course, the voters know better and are hungry for the change and fiscal discipline the Baker-Tisei ticket will bring.”
While a recent Suffolk University/7 News shows the governor would win a three-way race, only 42 percent of likely voters approve of the job Patrick is doing, while 51 percent disapprove. A majority of voters - 55 percent - indicated someone else deserves a turn at the top job.
"In Murray, Governor Patrick finds loyal defender"
By Associated Press, via www.bostonherald.com - Local Politics, February 7, 2010
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick largely stays above the re-election fray because he’s got a scrappy No. 2 in Lt. Gov. Tim Murray.
Murray was educated in New York City and schooled in the council wards of Worcester, and he provides the punch to the Democrats’ re-election campaign.
He says when Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker talks about fiscal responsibility, it’s "like getting lectured on abstinence from Paris Hilton."
The Patrick-Murray administration is the product of a shotgun marriage of sorts. Murray beat a three-way field for lieutenant governor in 2006.
Patrick bested Attorney General Tom Reilly and education activist Chris Gabrieli for the Democratic nomination.
Now they’re ready to run for re-election against Baker, convenience store magnate Christy Mihos and other gubernatorial challengers.
"Lt. Gov. Murray accuses Baker of leadership void"
By Glen Johnson, AP Political Writer, April 7, 2010
BOSTON -- Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray is accusing Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles Baker of a lack of leadership.
He complained Wednesday after the former health care executive refused to comment on a lawsuit insurers have filed over the state's efforts to hold down their premium increases.
The case heads to court Thursday, and Murray says Baker is tacitly endorsing the lawsuit through his silence.
A Baker aide says he does not want to comment on pending litigation.
Baker himself has accused Murray and Gov. Deval Patrick of engaging in an "election-year gimmick" by rejecting the insurers' proposed small business premiums amid his re-election campaign.
The insurers say limiting their premiums -- without controlling the costs charged them by doctors and providers -- will cause them to lose hundreds of millions of dollars.
"Lt. gov. offers tips for county to save"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, May 5, 2010
PITTSFIELD -- Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray toured the Berkshires on Tuesday and encouraged cities and towns to explore regionalization to improve government and save money.
Murray, who leads the state's Regionalization Advisory Commission, discussed the panel's new report on how communities can share services, personnel, equipment and possibly combine departments.
The report lists examples of successful regional entities and explains how the state can facilitate the formation of municipal collaborations through incentives and removing legal roadblocks.
"Through local technical assistance grants, communities will have the ability to do analysis and determine which shared services are feasible and make sense," Murray said in an interview with The Eagle's editorial board.
The report recommends how regionalization could better deliver a dozen different local services such as education, financial management, housing, economic development, public safety, public works and public health. Murray cited how Texas, a state with three times the population of Massachusetts, has only 107 public health departments compared to 351 here.
"When you have a health issue or pandemic, they don't stop at town borders," Murray said.
The Tri-Town Health Depart-ment, which has served Lee, Lenox and Stockbridge for 81 years, could be a model for others in the state, according to its director Peter J. Kolodziej. However, Kolodziej said regionalization should be left up to each community.
"Not every town needs to belong to a regional health department," he said in an Eagle interview. "Maybe a part-time health inspector is all some communities need."
Massachusetts has 403 noneducational special districts with 388 of them devoted to a single service including the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District. The 12-member town regional entity coordinates the collection of bulky and hazardous waste, along with used paint, motor oil, tires, electronic equipment and mercury and compact fluorescent light bulbs.
The Regionalization Advisory Commission also found that simple agreements between two towns can be just as beneficial as a formal regional entity. The panel's report cites how the town of Washington, which lacks a public library, will purchase library services for its residents from the neighboring community of Becket.
Murray said the state is using existing regional models to promote more collaboration between cities and towns.
"It's a lot easier to give tangible examples and say what works and what didn't work," he said.
Kolodziej said regionalization shouldn't be limited to structured government entities.
"There are all kinds of existing models we can build upon, such as [a] health department's relationship with regional [visiting nurse associations], tobacco awareness programs and partnerships with colleges," said Kolodziej.
The Berkshire Region Group Purchasing Program, through the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, is another successful regional model that allows cities and towns to submit a single bid on road salt, asphalt and other bulk purchases.
Richmond Town Admin-istrator Matthew M. Kerwood said a first-ever group bid on heating oil for the current fiscal year allowed his town to lock in at $1.90 per gallon compared to $3.53 per gallon in fiscal 2009.
"The oil company was able to purchase on the futures market and get us a better price," Kerwood said.
Murray said communities in flux and the current economic downturn may open the way for more collaboration. For example, Pittsfield is seeking state funding toward a high school building project that could involve regionalization.
"We have a tremendous need to improve technical and vocational education and that could be through a regional effort," said Pittsfield Mayor James M. Ruberto.
To reach Dick Lindsay: firstname.lastname@example.org, or (413) 496-6233.
"Mass. Lt. Gov. Murray hospitalized, in good spirits"
Associated Press, July 6, 2010
BOSTON (AP) -- The lieutenant governor has been hospitalized after marching in several parades in 90-degree heat over the Independence Day weekend and becoming ill.
Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, who marched in five parades during a busy holiday weekend, felt under the weather and decided to seek medical attention Monday evening, spokesman Kyle Sullivan said.
Murray, a Democrat who's in his early 40s, was spending the night for observation at a hospital in Worcester, about 40 miles west of Boston, and was in good spirits, Sullivan said.
Murray is a former three-term mayor of Worcester, the state's second-largest city. He has worked with Gov. Deval Patrick to promote job growth while reforming ethics, education, pensions and the state transportation system and has made protecting local aid a priority for the Patrick administration, his website says.
"With numbers of Massachusetts homeless living in hotels up, Deval Patrick seeks to overhaul program"
By Dan Ring, The Republican, February 24, 2011
BOSTON - Amid an alarming increase in the number of homeless families placed in motels this winter, Gov. Deval L. Patrick is seeking $38.5 million to overhaul the state’s program for emergency assistance and to help move people into apartments or congregate housing.
Currently, 1,067 families are being housed in motels in the state, including 300 in Western Massachusetts. The statewide number is up 17 percent from a month ago and the count in Western Massachusetts is up 20 percent from last month.
In Chicopee, 116 families are in motels or hotels; Holyoke, 80, West Springfield, 58; Springfield, 44, and one each in Greenfield and Westfield, according to state statistics.
“The numbers have climbed once again,” said Pamela Schwartz, director of the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness. “It’s the economy and jobs are still really hard to come by.”
The current counts are similar to January of last year when there were 312 homeless families in motels in Western Massachusetts and 982 across the state.
The problem drew public attention last year after the death of a baby at a hotel in West Springfield, and the abuse of two homeless children at a Westfield hotel.
Elizabeth Curtis Rogers, executive director of the state’s Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness, attributed the increase partly to a loss of federal stimulus dollars and the winding down of state pilot programs for placing people in apartments and housing.
If the governor’s reform proposal is adopted by the state Legislature, she said, officials are confident they can end the practice of using motels for homeless families within the fiscal year that starts July 1.
In his proposed state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, Patrick is proposing to create a new housing transition program for eligible homeless families. The program would be financed with $38.5 million of the money currently used for emergency assistance for family shelters and services. Under the program, the state would pay for a portion of monthly rent for an apartment, the first and last month’s rent and security deposit, utility charges and possibly extraordinary medical bills.
Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray, chairman of the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness, said it would be more economical and would help people become more self-sufficient if families could be moved into more permanent housing such as apartments or congregate housing.
Murray said it costs the state about $3,000 a month to put up a homeless family in a motel. Families are moved into motel rooms when shelters become full. The state expects to spend $159.3 million this fiscal year on emergency assistance for homeless families.
Murray said the state could also more easily provide related services such as day care and job training if a family was in congregate housing or an apartment.
“Even with those supportive services, it is cheaper on a monthly basis than it would be to put people in a hotel or motel,” Murray said.
Murray said state regulations need to be changed to allow more flexible use of money for emergency assistance to homeless families. Regulations now favor the use of emergency shelters such as motel rooms.
As part of the proposed program, assistance would be limited to 36 months and payments would be capped at $8,000 a year for all services, according to Patrick’s budget.
The effort would also include a special program to provide congregate housing for young families, including single mothers who now often end up in motels, Murray said.
Sen. James T. Welch, a West Springfield Democrat, said Patrick’s program is promising and he is very encouraged by it. “This is a huge shift in funding emergency shelter for homeless families,” Welch said.
The state budget for emergency assistance for family shelters and services currently exceeds the state money appropriated for all other housing programs including rental assistance, said Peter A. Gagliardi, executive director of HAP Housing in Springfield, a regional private, nonprofit agency administering state rental assistance and a variety of other housing services.
“We are spending more money on shelter than we are on housing,” he said. “There is something wrong with that picture.”
Gagliardi said he strongly supports Patrick’s move to a new model. His agency is among those that would help administer the new program.
Patrick is also proposing level funding - $37.3 million - for the next fiscal year for assisting homeless individuals.
William J. Miller, executive director of the Friends of the Homeless, which runs shelters for men and women on Worthington Street in Springfield, said he is working to boost state payments for his organization. The state currently provides approximately $700,000 annually to the Worthington Street shelters for men and women, reflecting the rate of about $14 per bed per night. Statewide, the average rate paid by the state to shelters is about $30 per bed, per night, he said.
“We’re at the losing end,” Miller said. “People respect the work we are doing, but everything is about cutting. There are no upward adjustments.”
"Lt. Gov. Murray outraises other state officials"
By STEVE LeBLANC, Associated Press (Boston.com), January 7, 2013
BOSTON (AP) — Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray has raised more in campaign donations in the past year than any other statewide officeholder on Beacon Hill, more evidence that he’s preparing for a gubernatorial run next year.
The Worcester Democrat collected nearly $447,000 in contributions through the end of December, according to an Associated Press review of state campaign finance records.
The review found that the next highest Beacon Hill fundraiser was Treasurer Steven Grossman, a fellow Democrat and another likely candidate for governor in 2014. Grossman raised more than $352,000 in donations.
The third-highest fundraiser was Attorney General Martha Coakley, also a Democrat, who pulled in nearly $230,000 in contributions.
The strong fundraising totals by Murray and Grossman reflect early political jostling as candidates hope to gain a financial edge even though the gubernatorial campaign is still a year off and a likely special election for U.S. Senate is dominating political talk in the state.
The numbers also reflect Murray’s fundraising muscle despite a series of political setbacks, including an early morning highway crash in November 2011 in which he totaled his state-issued car.
Speaking before the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce in November, Murray gave the clearest indication of his political aspirations, saying ‘‘like many of you in the room, I would like to be governor.’’
Grossman also hasn’t been shy about his interest in running for governor.
He told WCVB-TV that he was ‘‘leaning strongly in that direction’’ when asked about a possible run.
Gov. Deval Patrick has said he won’t seek a third term.
Murray’s strongest fundraising month was December when he collected nearly $155,100, much of it in the final weeks of the year, when he held a major fundraiser. Grossman also saw his biggest surge in December, when he raised more than $114,300.
Grossman reported an ending balance for the year of $442,200 compared with nearly $359,500 for Murray, although the totals don’t include money transferred into savings accounts.
Coakley was followed by Patrick, who collected more than $171,000 in 2012; state Secretary William Galvin, who pulled in about $151,000; and state Auditor Suzanne Bump, who raised more than $87,000 in contributions.
All three are Democrats.
There are several Republicans said to be weighing possible campaigns for governor in 2014 including former gubernatorial candidate and one-time CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Charles Baker, former Gov. William Weld, and Wrentham state Rep. Daniel Winslow, who also served as chief legal counsel for former Gov. Mitt Romney.
Baker hasn’t begun actively raising money for the gubernatorial campaign, but he reported more than $31,300 in his campaign account. Winslow reported nearly $19,200 in his account as of mid-October.
"Lt. Gov. Murray opts out of Mass. governor’s race"
By Bob Salsberg, Associated Press, January 18, 2013
BOSTON (AP) -- Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray has decided against running for governor in 2014.
A political aide to Murray confirmed Friday that Murray, a former mayor of Worcester, has sent an email to supporters announcing his decision to skip the race.
The Democrat said in an interview with the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester that he wanted to spend more time with his wife and two daughters.
The decision could dramatically alter the landscape for the next gubernatorial election. Gov. Deval Patrick has ruled out running for a third term.
Democratic State Treasurer Steve Grossman has said he is leaning strongly toward running.
Murray had collected nearly $447,000 in contributions through the end of December, according to an Associated Press review of state campaign finance records, the most of the state’s constitutional officers.
Associated Press writer Steve LeBlanc contributed to this report.
"Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray to resign, says controversies had nothing to do with his decision"
By Jim O’Sullivan, Michael Levenson and Frank Phillips, Boston Globe Staff, May 22, 2013
Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray will resign from the administration next month to run the Worcester Chamber of Commerce, positioning himself as a hometown cheerleader far from Beacon Hill where he saw his reputation tarnished the last few years.
In a dramatic exit from the State House, Murray, once widely considered a front-runner for the governorship next year, will serve as president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. He becomes the first lieutenant governor to resign midterm since John F. Kerry joined the US Senate in 1985, leaving the state’s second-highest governmental position open until a new administration takes office in early 2015.
Murray has wielded a broader portfolio than many of his predecessors. But controversies over his ties to disgraced local official and an extraordinary early-morning car accident have hobbled him politically since late 2011.
“I have mixed feelings about it,” Murray said in an interview with the Globe Wednesday. “When I think about this job and its potential and the vision of where they want to take it, I get very excited.”
He dismissed the notion that his ties to former Chelsea Housing Authority chief Michael McLaughlin, who raised money for Murray’s campaign and earlier this year pleaded guilty to federal felony charges of concealing his salary, or his November 2011 car accident fueled his decision. As a longtime advocate for the homeless, Murray said, McLaughlin’s criminal behavior “pisses me off.”
“This has nothing to do with that,” Murray said during an interview in his office. “This is nothing that I sought out. People came to me.”
His resignation will take effect June 2.
At a State House press conference on Wednesday, Murray said he initially dismissed the chamber’s offer, but grew more enthusiastic when officials there talked to him about their plans to enhance the group’s performance. His political woes, he said, were not a factor.
“People are going to believe what they want to believe, but to me this is a right fit and a right decision, and I struggled with the idea of leaving early, because there are still items on the punchlist,” Murray said.
Two Patrick administration officials said Murray, who now makes less than $125,000 a year, is expected to earn over $200,000 as head of the Worcester chamber.
Murray also voiced the frustrations common among many in the state outside the metro Boston region: that much of the political and commercial focus is on the capital.
“It’s often times very Boston-centric, and that’s at the expense of other regions,” Murray said. “The fact of the matter is, if you took central Massachusetts and plopped it down in any other state in the country, it would be seen as a major economic force, which it is. But we don’t promote it and sell it.”
Murray earlier this year announced he would not seek the corner office next year, despite years of anticipation that he would look to graduate from the number-two post. As lieutenant governor, Murray worked as Governor Deval Patrick’s liaison to local officials, taking the lead on veterans’ affairs, and homing in on transportation and economic development issues.
The administration was engaged in trying to help Murray land a job in the private sector, according to a person familiar with those efforts.
“His departure leaves a very big hole in our team. So, I’m happy for him personally, but I’m a little miffed professionally,” Patrick joked at the press conference.
McLaughlin will be sentenced June 14 and is required to cooperate as a condition of his plea. Attorney General Martha Coakley is also still investigating McLaughlin’s fundraising on Murray’s behalf.
The state Constitution does not provide a mechanism for an appointment to replace Murray, meaning that Patrick will operate without a lieutenant governor until his term expires in January 2015. Next in the line of succession is Secretary of State William F. Galvin, who will serve as acting governor when Patrick is out of state.
The Worcester group reached out to Murray about a month and a half ago, he said. Murray, who worked in the chamber’s mailroom while in high school, said he hired a private attorney to consult with the state Ethics Commission and informed Patrick of the opportunity “a few weeks after” the initial inquiry.
The chamber’s executive committee voted Thursday to pursue Murray and extended an offer on Friday, he said. On Tuesday, he filed a disclosure of the appearance of a conflict of interest with the Ethics Commission. He said Wednesday he was unsure whether he would register as a lobbyist, but would adhere to state ethics laws.
Worcester political and business circles started buzzing late Tuesday about the prospect of Murray, who has remained popular in the area after three terms of mayor, taking the chamber post. Many in the region feel that Murray’s fate within the Patrick administration is symbolic of Worcester’s treatment at the hands of the state’s Boston-centered power structure.
Lou DiNatale, a Worcester-area based Democratic operative, said Murray’s tough sledding in Massachusetts politics is symbolic of what many in that city feel is the “continued Boston bias against Worcester.”
“What Tim Murray bumped into is the invisible shield that prevents Worcester political figures from breaking into Boston-based political world,” DiNatale said.
Paul J. Giorgio, a long time Worcester Democratic activist and publisher of the city’s Pulse Magazine, said Murray ran up against the “bias of the Boston big-shots.” He praised Murray for his leadership skills, saying the lieutenant governor would refocus the chamber on the changing face of Worcester’s economy.
“We’ve always been second to Boston, yet there’s a lot going on in biotech, medical research, video gaming, and energy.
Murray, too, addressed that dynamic, saying the capital has dominated “ the discourse, the focus, not only in the media but in this building, and I think we do a disservice to the whole state and quite frankly to the whole greater Boston area.”
Murray said the chance to avoid the hours of travel required by his current job and to spend more time with his wife and two young daughters also appealed to him.
Andrea Estes of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Michael Levenson can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson. Frank Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Murray to pay settlement, McLaughlin indicted over fund-raising"
By Andrea Estes and Jim O’Sullivan, Boston Globe Staff, August 29, 2013
Timothy P. Murray agreed Thursday to pay $80,000 to settle charges that he collected $50,000 in illegal campaign contributions raised by two public officials, capping a controversy that derailed the former lieutenant governor’s political career.
Murray, who resigned in June to take a position as head of the Worcester Chamber of Commerce, collected tens of thousands of dollars in donations solicited by former Chelsea Housing Authority executive director Michael E. McLaughlin, according to Attorney General Martha Coakley.
McLaughlin, who has already been sentenced to three years in federal prison for lying to state and federal regulators about his $360,000 salary, was indicted Thursday by a state grand jury in several campaign violations including unlawful solicitation by a public employee.
If convicted, he could face additional jail time. He is scheduled to be arraigned on the state charges Sept. 5, just days before he is to report to federal prison. McLaughlin may plead guilty to the state charges in exchange for a sentence of probation to be served after his federal prison term ends, according to two people briefed on negotiations.
A second official — E. Bernard Plante, a supervisor in the state Department of Transportation — also solicited donations for Murray in the Worcester area between 2008 and 2010, Coakley said. He was not charged.
“Political fund-raising and solicitation by public employees, especially those in management positions, is a violation of law that undermines the integrity of our campaign finance system,” Coakley said.
In a statement, Murray said he should have been “more vigilant” about who was working on behalf of his campaign.
“As I have said from the start, I never asked Michael McLaughlin to solicit funds for my committee, because I know that would have been wrong,” he said. “If I knew in 2006 what I know today about Mr. McLaughlin, I would have never had any association with him at all.”
In a phone interview Thursday, Murray said: “I’m glad that this civil settlement has been reached. It’s been a long, difficult process, but we fully cooperated every step along the way, and we’re just glad it’s come to a closure.”
Murray had asked state campaign finance officials to investigate after the Boston Globe reported in January 2012 that McLaughlin, who as a public employee was barred from fund-raising, had organized several fund-raisers on Murray’s behalf. McLaughlin solicited donations, often in cash, from Chelsea Housing Authority employees and friends and associates.
At the time, Murray downplayed their relationship and said he was unaware McLaughlin raised money for him.
Within months, the investigators turned their attention to Murray. They questioned him and others, in an effort to determine whether Murray himself had engaged in criminal conduct. In the end, prosecutors concluded that even if McLaughlin testified against Murray, there was insufficient evidence that Murray knew what McLaughlin was doing or that he conspired with him, according to three people briefed on the investigation.
Coakley’s office has had difficulty winning convictions in public corruption cases. Earlier this year, a Suffolk County jury found former probation commissioner John O’Brien not guilty of charges he raised money for former treasurer Timothy Cahill in order to get his wife a job at the state Treasury. And last December a jury could not reach a verdict in the trial of Cahill, accused of misusing state lottery money to finance an ad campaign for his 2010 run for governor. Cahill ended up paying a $100,000 fine.
Thursday, Murray repeated that the “process was initiated” by him after he learned that McLaughlin had “improperly solicited funds for my committee.”
“I asked for the investigation because I have always sought to play by the rules and run my political committee within the letter and the spirit of the law,” he said. “This review has been comprehensive, and we have fully cooperated with the authorities every step of the way.”
Murray, who had been preparing a run for governor, saw his political career shelved after the Boston Globe reported his ties to McLaughlin and he ran his car off the road in a predawn crash.
In January, he announced he would not run for governor and stopped fund-raising.
When he later announced he was resigning, Murray dismissed suggestions that the controversies prompted his decision.
As part of his settlement with the attorney general, Murray’s political committee must pay a $20,000 fine. By Aug. 15, Murray’s campaign account contained more than $227,000. Murray must also personally pay a $10,000 fine. Additionally, Murray must dissolve his political committee and have no involvement with a political fund-raising committee for two years, Coakley’s office said.
Murray’s agreement with the chamber of commerce already prohibits him from campaign involvement.
The second public official, Plante, solicited donations from DOT employees for his son, who was a Murray fund-raiser, according to the agreement. Plante, who makes about $88,000 per year, solicited donations from DOT employees and others for three Murray fund-raisers in Worcester in 2008, 2009 and 2010, the agreement said.
A person close to the investigation said Plante’s cooperation in the inquiry helped him avoid prosecution. The Patrick administration refused Thursday to disclose Plante’s name, though Coakley’s aides confirmed it.
“We learned of the attorney general’s investigation involving a MassDOT employee today,” DOT spokeswoman Sara Lavoie said in an e-mail. “We will be reviewing the attorney general’s findings and agreement with the employee and will determine whether or not further action is necessary.”
“That is just the decision that was made,” said Lavoie, explaining why the agency would not release the name. She said the department will circulate “reminder guidelines” about fund-raising rules for its employees.
In addition to four counts of unlawful solicitation by a public employee, McLaughlin is also charged with four counts of solicitation in a public building and four counts of conspiracy to solicit in a public building.
On Tuesday, Coakley and the Office of Campaign and Political Finance took action in another political campaign case, filing suit against Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua, alleging he had violated state campaign finance law by accepting thousands of dollars in potentially illegal cash and corporate contributions.
The legal maneuvering comes as Coakley herself is considering a gubernatorial bid. She has said she will decide soon whether or not to run.
Political observers said the fallout from Murray’s imbroglio with McLaughlin had left him politically damaged, but said his enduring popularity in Central Massachusetts and within the Democratic Party left the door open to a political comeback in the future.
“As bad as the car accident was, it could have been worse, and the same is true of the outcome of this entire situation,” said Mary Anne Marsh, a Democratic strategist with the Dewey Square Group. “Tim Murray doesn’t come out completely unscathed, like the car accident, and with this judgment and some time, Tim Murray could have some future here.”
Andrea Estes can be reached at email@example.com. Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Former Mass. Lt. Gov. Murray fined $80K for campaign violations"
August 29, 2013
(NECN) - Former Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray and his campaign committee have agreed to pay an $80,000 fine for violations.
The fine settles allegations that he accepted illegally solicited contributions.
Attorney General Martha Coakley claims the money was solicited by former Chelsea Housing Authority Director Michael McLaughlin and another state official.
Murray has released a statement on the matter. He says he never asked McLaughlin to solicit funds, but in a statement he says: "Mr. McLaughlin's behavior does not change the fact that I am ultimately responsible for administrative oversights made by my committee."
Murray will not face criminal charges.
But on Thursday, McLaughlin was indicted for allegedly soliciting the contributions from state workers for not only Murray's campaign but others as well.
This is the latest legal trouble for McLaughlin. Earlier this year, he was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to hiding his inflated salary from authorities.
- Jonathan Melle
- Amherst, NH, United States
- I am a citizen defending the people against corrupt Pols who only serve their Corporate Elite masters, not the people! / My 2 political enemies are Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., nicknamed "Luciforo" and former Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr. / I have also pasted many of my political essays on "The Berkshire Blog": berkshireeagle.blogspot.com / I AM THE ANTI-FRANK GUINTA! / Please contact me at email@example.com
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