Baker making last-minute appointments as he exits

Fills MassDOT, MBTA board vacancies, elevates Dooley

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER is making some last-minute appointments to boards and commissions as he prepares to leave office.

Last week, the governor named outgoing state rep Timothy Whelan of Barnstable and retired transportation executive Joseph Beggan to the 11-member Massachusetts Department of Transportation board and extended the terms of Leominister Mayor Dean Mazzarola and Timothy King, the president of the Massachusetts Police Association.

On Tuesday, Baker appointed Chanda Smart of Roxbury to the seven-member MBTA board of directors, replacing Travis McCready, who served for a little over a year. Smart, who will be the board member representing environmental justice populations, is a developer with OnyxGroup Development who previously worked in an administrative position at Harvard Law School.

The State House News Service on Tuesday reported that Baker named Shawn Dooley as a commissioner on the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission. Dooley stepped down as a state rep last week just before his term ended.

Dooley’s new salary is not listed yet in the state’s online payroll system, but judging from what fellow commissioners are paid his new job is likely to double his pay. The jobs on the transportation boards are unpaid positions.

Whelan and Dooley were both Republican House members who lost elections for new posts – Dooley tried to unseat incumbent state Sen. Rebecca Rausch of Needham and Whelan lost a race for Barnstable County sheriff to Donna Buckley.

Rep. William Straus of Mattapoisett, the House chair of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee, said he thought it would have been appropriate for the governor to leave any vacancies on the transportation boards so Maura Healey could fill them when she takes office later this week.

As an alternative, he said, the current members of the boards should all tender their resignations and let Healey decide who should stay and who should go.

Straus said the last-minute board appointments didn’t sit well with him. “It left me with a bad taste in my mouth,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation referred questions about the transportation board appointments to the governor’s press office, which could not be reached for comment.