Baker pulls switcheroo in Taunton

Sometimes Mr. Fix-it becomes more of a fixer.

Gov. Charlie Baker was the latter on Monday when he appointed Taunton Mayor Thomas Hoye Jr. as the interim register of probate in Bristol County. Less than an hour later, Republican state Rep. Shauna O’Connell of Taunton announced a run for mayor.

The switcheroo appeared to catch everyone except those involved by surprise. As recently as Thursday, Hoye, who faced no opponent, said he was planning to run for reelection as mayor. He said he was waiting for an aide to return from vacation before he filed his nomination papers.

With the deadline for filing nomination papers 5 p.m. today, O’Connell is likely to be the only candidate for mayor, although candidates need only 25 signatures to make a run. The election for mayor will take place in November.

Hoye, a Democrat, has been mayor of Taunton for eight years. He previously served on the city council and prior to that was a teacher. As mayor, he served on the governor’s Opioid Task Force. In announcing his decision to take the job as interim register of probate, Hoye said he wanted to spend more time with his family. The next election for register of probate is in 2020.

O’Connell, who described Hoye as a friend, has been the state rep from Taunton since 2010. She is very conservative and some have suggested Baker would be better off with her out of the Legislature.

Gus Bickford, the chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, condemned Baker’s decision to time Hoye’s appointment so Taunton mayoral candidates would have only one day to take the necessary steps to run. He called the move “undemocratic and the kind of tactic preferred by dictators.”

“It should come as no surprise that minutes after Baker’s announcement, his right-wing ally released a prepared statement announcing her candidacy for the mayor’s office,” Bickford said in a statement. “These kinds of backroom deals disenfranchise voters and undermine our electoral process.”

Baker is not averse to backroom deals, but they don’t always go as planned. Last year, then-Berkshire County district attorney David Capeless stepped down 10 months early and Baker appointed his top aide, Paul Caccaviello, as the interim DA. Capeless, who took out nomination papers to keep everyone guessing, acknowledged he stepped down to give his aide the benefit of incumbency heading into the election. They plan went awry when Andrea Harrington defeated Caccaviello.

BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

Why didn’t former registrar Erin Deveney sound the alarm about a backlog of unprocessed violation notices concerning Massachusetts drivers in other states? She certainly had plenty of opportunities. (CommonWealth) Registry of Motor Vehicles officials will meet with local law enforcement leaders on Thursday to discuss procedures for the state notifying local communities about residents who have had drivers’ licenses suspended or revoked. (Boston Globe)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Methuen Mayor James Jajuga accused City Councilor James McCarty of breaking into the city clerk’s office while election papers are being collected, but later chalked that up to a mistaken identity. (Eagle-Tribune)

Gladys Vega, executive director of the Chelsea Collaborative, said the mass murder in El Paso has raised a new level of fear among immigrants in Chelsea. (WBUR)

To qualify for disaster aid following three tornados last month, Cape towns had to incur about $9.6 million in storm-related costs. The affected towns are currently reporting their initial estimates to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. (Cape Cod Times) 

A proposal for Tyngsborough to purchase a golf course property failed to garner the necessary support at town meeting, and Selectman Rick Reault thinks that means the property will be developed. (Lowell Sun)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

President Trump decried racism and white supremacy in an address on the mass shootings in a speech from the White House in which “Teleprompter Trump repudiated Twitter Trump.” (Washington Post) Globe columnist Joan Vennochi says of Trump’s denunciation of racism, “really, who takes him seriously.” Reflecting that sentiment, the New York Times rewrote the headline on a story about Trump’s response for its Tuesday print edition after a strong backlash to reports on the first-edition wording, which read, “Trump urges unity vs. racism.” (Washington Post

The red flag law in Massachusetts has resulted in about a dozen orders for firearm removal in the last year, and there is new attention on it after President Trump suggested something similar could be done at the federal level. (WBUR)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

A Waltham company is supplying DNA test kits to ICE for verifying family relationships among immigrants along the border with Mexico. (CommonWealth)

Could the trade war President Trump is waging with China set off a recession? (Boston Globe)

Pyramid Cos., the owner of the Holyoke Mall, sells off two chunks of the property. (MassLive)

Ruth’s Chris Steak House plans to open a restaurant in the Mercantile Center in Worcester. (Telegram & Gazette)

Fall River officials and contractor I.W. Harding Construction held an initial meeting over whether the city owes the West Bridgewater-based company another $1.1 million for a streetscape and sewer project. (Herald News) 

A school shuttered seven years ago in Fairhaven has been bought by New England Preservation & Development which intends on turning the main building into a 14-unit condominium complex. (Standard-Times) 

EDUCATION

With recent approval of a 2.5 percent tuition increase, the full cost of a year at UMass Amherst for in-state students will be nearly $30,000. (Boston Globe

ARTS/CULTURE

Daily Item columnist Steven Krause says arts and culture are changing the narrative of Lynn. 

TRANSPORTATION 

Peter Pan suspends a bus driver accused of shutting a passenger in the luggage compartment. (MassLIve)

A passenger on  Brockton Area Transit Authority bus  attacked the bus driver, causing the vehicle to crash. The passenger was apparently upset after learning the bus wouldn’t stop in Randolph. (MetroWest Daily News)

The Telegram & Gazette tries to investigate the state of reverse commuting (people traveling to Worcester from points east, including Boston), but ends up with a bunch of random anecdotes because the commuter rail system has no way of tracking riders.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Ship traffic is taking a toll on the critically endangered right whale. (WGBH)

CASINOS

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont wants the state’s two Indian tribes to drop their plans for an East Windsor casino (to stem losses to the MGM casino in Springfield) in return for legalized sports betting, a new casino in Bridgeport, and the ability to add gambling at the XL Center in Hartford. (MassLive)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Former Boston police commissioner Bill Evans testified at the City Hall corruption trial that the police department had no involvement in labor issues concerning the Boston Calling music festival at the center of the case. (Boston Globe) Judge Leo Sorokin will let the case go to the jury, but he is leaving open the possibility that he might dismiss the prosecution’s case. (WGBH)

Lawyers for a Newton judge and former court officer charged with helping an undocumented immigrant elude federal authorities asked federal prosecutors for more information to help them decide whether to seek separate trials. (Boston Globe)

The mother of Christopher Prew, who is accused of sexually abusing 10 boys while coaching hockey, sent a “vile and vicious” threatening message to the mother of one of the boys, according to Judge Timothy Feeley, who said Prew was clearly behind the message. (Salem News)

A Boston man has been charged with assaulting a bus driver and causing a crash that left 16 people injured Monday evening. (Patriot Ledger) 

MEDIA

The New York Times eliminates its public editor position. (Politico)

The planned merger of Gannett and GateHouse newspaper chains may cushion some of the blows the industry is taking, but it won’t change the troubling trajectory things are on, writes Jon Chesto. (Boston Globe) Media critic Dan Kennedy has more on an internal memo from GateHouse Media brass touting the deal to employees. (Media Nation) 

PASSINGS 

Generations of the Kennedy family gather on Cape Cod to bid farewell to Saoirse Kennedy Hill at a funeral mass in Centerville. (Cape Cod Times)