• Ex-cabinet secretary approved for Mass. judgeship


    BOSTON (AP) — The nomination of former state Secretary of Public Safety Mary Beth Heffernan to be a judge in the state's district court system has been approved.

    The Governor's Council voted 7-1 on Wednesday to confirm Heffernan, with Councilor Jennie Cassie casting the only no vote.

    Heffernan was nominated by Gov. Deval Patrick after serving more than two years in the cabinet post.

    Her final weeks in office were clouded by questions about her role in the 2007 hiring of Sheila Burgess, who resigned as the state's highway safety director after reports surfaced of her own spotty personal driving record. Documents showed Heffernan, who was an undersecretary at the time, was one of two people who referred Burgess for the post.

    Patrick called Burgess' hiring an "embarrassment" but strongly praised Heffernan's tenure as public safety secretary.

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