Gov. Deval Patrick said yesterday that Tim Murray's resignation as
lieutenant governor "leaves a very big hole" in his lame-duck administration --
but it's a hole, experts say, that's easily filled.
"It's like the appendix in a person's body. You don't need an appendix, and in state government you don't need a lieutenant governor," Boston University professor Thomas Whalen said. "It's the best job in the world. You don't have to do much of anything, and it's a pretty good paycheck."
At a State House press conference, Patrick joked about Murray's resignation from his $124,000-a-year government post for the $200,000-a-year job as CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.
"His departure leaves a very big hole in our team. So, I'm happy for him personally, but I'm a little miffed," the governor said.
But in the next breath, he brushed off suggestions that Murray's departure, slated for June, would detract from his administration.
"You judge us over the next 18 months and see if we slow down," Patrick said. "I have a feeling we will show you we don't intend to slow down."
Murray's resignation means his lone constitutional duty now falls to Patrick, who will take on the tedious task of presiding over weekly Governor's Council meetings.
With no rules in place to fill Murray's vacant spot, when Patrick is out of state, acting governor duties will now fall to Secretary of State William Galvin, with Attorney General Martha Coakley, Treasurer Steven Grossman and State Auditor Suzanne Bump all standing next in line.
As for Murray, he said his move home to Worcester, where he served as mayor, was about "opportunity" and not about the scandals that plagued him in the last year and a half, starting with his bizarre, early-morning car crash and his ties to disgraced former Chelsea Housing Chief Michael McLaughlin, a Murray political ally and fundraiser.
And while Coakley's office continues its probe, Murray said he does not expect to be indicted. "We've cooperated," he said. "(McLaughlin) misled a bunch of people. ... That makes me angry and frustrated."
Worcester Chamber board members -- who tossed Murray's name around in recent weeks before officially deciding to offer him the job last Thursday -- said they, too, are not concerned with fallout from the state probe.
"We know Tim Murray," Chamber member Demitrios Moschos said. "We know his character and his integrity. ... You're dealing with allegations. There have been no charges."
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