Baker getting nicked by those around him
Governor racing ahead to finish line in hopes of avoiding growing problems
NOVEMBER 6 CAN’T come soon enough for Gov. Charlie Baker.
The Republican who is more popular with Democrats than his own party is getting nicked by clouds of scandal around him and at some point, those tiny cuts could cause him to bleed out before Election Day.
The latest problem for Baker is the suspension of Col. James McGinn, the head of the Massachusetts Environmental Police. It’s not just the fact McGinn heads up a department within the Baker administration but rather his ties to the governor that resulted in his appointment to the post. McGinn is a retired State Police sergeant who served as Baker’s driver before landing the plum $132,215 post.
“I’ve known Jim for a long time and he has 20 years as a state police officer,” Baker told Boston Herald Radio in defending the promotion a couple years back. “He left the force as a sergeant, he worked for FEMA as a disaster recovery specialist.”
McGinn has been in the middle of a number of tempests since his appointment, including trying to transfer an employee who claimed she was pressured to get her fiancé to drop his Senate challenge to a Republican incumbent. He also has come under fire for allegedly promoting friends and demoting disloyal employees.
More recently, reports surfaced that officers in the force were collecting overtime by working split shifts as well as some getting paid while working from home. It’s unclear if any of these issues triggered the harsh step – for Baker – of an unpaid suspension. But it’s a new problem the notoriously cautious governor can ill afford to hang.Baker is still trying to clean up the mess from the ongoing payroll problems at the State Police. He’s also increasingly being hounded over what is happening with the investigation into allegations his son groped a women on a flight from Washington, DC, to Boston back in June.
Baker, who has pretty much been seen as a nice guy with little personal baggage, is now in a position to have to explain the actions of those closest to him and why he shouldn’t bear the responsibility. None of these growing scandals directly involve Baker but who ever said politics and perception are fair?