• Gov. taps outgoing cabinet member for Mass. bench


    BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick has nominated outgoing state Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan to serve as a district court judge.

    Heffernan, who has served in Patrick's cabinet since 2010, but was recently one of several secretaries to announce that they would not remain in their posts for the final two years of Patrick's term.

    The governor said in a statement Friday that Heffernan has a strong commitment to public service and will be an excellent judge.

    Heffernan had recently been in the news, acknowledging serious flaws in the hiring of the state's highway safety director despite Sheila Burgess's questionable driving record.

    "The Sheila Burgess thing was an embarrassment, no doubt about it, and I've said that any number of different ways, but she did a great job in her role," Gov. Patrick said during a news conference Friday. "She was an important part of this team and we're sorry to see her go."

    FOX 25's Sharman Sacchetti brought up the fact that Heffernan has been embroiled in controversy over the Burgess hiring and the state drug lab, including how she appeared as a reference on Burgess's application, but Gov. Patrick refused to respond.

    "You want me to repeat what I just said?" asked Patrick.

    Patrick has named Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral to succeed Heffernan as public safety secretary.

    The governor Friday also nominated Michael McCarthy, a Pittsfield attorney, to be an associate justice of the Southern Berkshire District Court.

    All judicial nominations must be confirmed by the eight-member Governor's Council.

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