Top Baker aides on party guest list
Using state resources led to suspension of DCR chief
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
THE LIST OF GUESTS invited to the July 3 bash thrown by two top Department of Conservation and Recreation officials using state resources is a veritable who’s who of the executive branch and the state Republican Party — including cabinet secretaries, department heads, senior advisors and political big wigs.
It is unclear who on the invite list — which the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs provided to the News Service on Friday — actually attended the party, which has landed DCR Commissioner Leo Roy and Deputy Commissioner Matthew Sisk in hot water and suspended from their jobs for a week without pay.
Roy and Sisk have paid the state back more than $800 for the state resources they used to plan and host the party, which coincided with the Boston Pops Independence Day dress rehearsal concert at the Esplanade’s Hatch Shell, a DCR property. The party was held at a condo owned by Ron Kaufman, the state’s Republican national committeeman.
The list provided contains a number of misspellings of people’s names, and does not identify invitees by job title.
Roy and Sisk used DCR-rented golf carts driven by DCR employees working at the Esplanade to ferry guests from the party to the Hatch Shell for a Boston Pops Independence Day dress rehearsal concert, according to a DCR memo.
Earlier this week, Gov. Charlie Baker said he was not invited to the party, and said he did not learn of the bash until Beaton reported the misuse of state resources to him, according to an interview transcript provided by the governor’s office.
“Let’s face it, the most important thing we need to do as an Administration, is to retain and manage public trust. And a big part of public trust is ensuring that we’re playing by the same rules everyone else plays by,” Baker said, according to the transcript. “I think the fact they self-referred to the ethics commission, they’ve paid back any taxpayer funds sends a good message. But I also think the fact that the Secretary suspended them for a week without pay sends exactly the right type of message, which is that this is not the kind of behavior we support and we don’t condone it.”
Groups representing both Democrats and Republicans have called on Baker to go beyond the one week unpaid suspension handed out to Roy and Sisk and fire both employees.But Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey said she thinks Baker has done enough to discipline Roy and Sisk, saying she does not “think this was an issue of crimes.”
“I think the administration took the right action. You’ve got to take swift immediate action. That is intolerable, unacceptable and I’m glad the administration took the action that it took,” Healey told reporters Thursday at an event in Roxbury. “The administration took the appropriate action, it appears. I don’t know all the specifics of the matter.”