• Gov. Patrick: officials followed protocol in destroying former safety director's records


    BOSTON (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) Governor Deval Patrick says state officials followed proper protocol in destroying some of the record related to the hiring of former Highway Safety Director Sheila Burgess.

    So far, nobody has been able to figure out who hired Burgess to be the former highway safety director and the lack of records seems to be making it tough.

    Burgess was hired in 2007 to head up traffic safety, even though her driving record includes several car crashes and dozens of traffic violations.

    Her background was in Democratic Party politics, as a campaign aide and fundraising consultant.

    Personnel files for active state workers are kept in H.R. departments, but the governor's office says some information, like background checks, expires after two years and may be destroyed for privacy reasons. Rules set up by the Secretary of State also show other documents related to hiring may be destroyed after varying amounts of time.

    FOX 25's Sharman Sacchetti caught up with the governor on Thursday to talk about it.

    "Well look, there's a regular documentation retention policy. That policy was followed. There's no story there," said Gov. Patrick. "We are trying to figure out who was responsible for making that decision because that person clearly needs to understand that we don't want to do things that way."

    Sacchetti asked the governor if the public is going to hear about any other Patronage hires or hires of unqualified people.

    "Well, first of all you keep using the same words. I'm not going to use those words. Like Patronage? I don't know well enough about her background to be able to say she wasn't qualified," says the governor. "She did the job well, but to have somebody with that kind of a driving record in a job that has to do with highway safety looks ridiculous, which is why you can't let the story go, and that's not going to happen again."
    The governor says while Burgess performed well at her job and was not "incompetent," he called it a mistake to hire her, a bad decision and said he was embarrassed.

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