Baker: RMV to fully cooperate at hearing

Says there will be no limitations on testimony

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER said the Legislature’s Transportation Committee should encounter no barriers on Tuesday when it attempts to kickstart an oversight hearing focused on the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

“I certainly expect that the people who have been asked to testify tomorrow are going to be there to testify and there aren’t going to be any limitations with respect to what they have to say,” Baker told reporters on Monday.

The Transportation Committee abruptly recessed the oversight hearing on the Registry last Monday after admonishing Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack for her refusal to provide documents and require employees to testify. Pollack also said she wanted to stay away from certain topics until a company called Grant Thornton is further along with its investigation into what happened.

The Legislature’s hearing was called to look into a rash of safety lapses involving hundreds of drivers uncovered when registry officials reviewed why a Massachusetts driver retained a valid commercial driver’s license even after an allegedly intoxicated driving incident in Connecticut in May. The driver, Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, allegedly killed seven motorcyclists in a truck crash in New Hampshire in June.

While many of the witnesses are Baker administration officials whose chain of command goes straight to the governor, the state’s chief executive will have limited power to direct non-employees to appear and answer the committee’s questions.

Erin Deveney, the former registrar who quit after the fatal crash, is no long employed by the state. FAST Enterprises, a Colorado company that built the RMV’s new ATLAS computer system, has said that it is company policy not to provide public testimony for its work on behalf of government clients.

That would presumably still leave other witnesses for the committee to interrogate. Pollack last week indicated that the responsible parties would face consequences.

Pollack and Interim Registrar Jamey Tesler showed up for the hearing last week, as did a representative from the audit firm Grant Thornton. The committee had also asked for Deveney, Merit Rating Board director Thomas Bowes, and Driver Control Unit director Keith Constantino, but they were no-shows.

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Andy Metzger

Reporter, CommonWealth magazine

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

When lawmakers renewed their request for full cooperation by the administration, the committee also asked for the appearance of a lower-level audit project manager named Brie-Anne Dwye.

“The department is expecting all invited witnesses to attend tomorrow’s hearing,” Massachusetts Department of Transportation spokesman Patrick Marvin said.