BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Governor Deval Patrick announced Rachel Kaprielian as his new Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Friday. Kaprielian last served as Registrar of Motor Vehicles and before that, as a seven term democratic state representative from Watertown.
The change comes at a time when the state's unemployment website has been dogged by computer problems.
Patrick insists that has nothing to do with why Secretary Joanne Goldstein is leaving. Goldstein is taking a job as an associate vice president at Northeastern University.
She has faced criticism over the new computer system at the Department of Unemployment Assistance. A system that left hundreds struggling to get unemployment benefits.
Friday Patrick praised her work, and that of his now former Labor Secretary Joanne Goldstein.
Kaprielian has been the registrar since 2008.
In 2010 she put into place a controversial policy of charging a $5 counter fee for certain in-person transactions, rather than if people went online.
Eventually, under harsh criticism, the fee was revoked.
The Massachusetts Republican Party is critical of both. Chair Kirsten Hughes released a statement, reading, "Let's not overlook the other side of the story where Secretary Goldstein's hallmark of her leadership is a failed unemployment system that was tens of millions of dollars over budget and years late. There was no nationwide search to bring in her replacement. The governor chose former State Rep. Rachel Kaprielian to replace Goldstein. Why wouldn't you bring in Rachel Kaprielian? Her hallmark at the DMV was the failed $5 fee along with the closing of multiple branches. Sadly, Governor Deval Patrick has a long track record of hiring cronyism over competence."
Goldstein has been serving as Patrick's labor secretary since 2010.
In December of 2012, he told cabinet members he wanted them to commit to serving the final two years of his term, or leave to let him choose replacements. When asked if he expected his cabinet to change from here until the end of his term, he replied, "They better not."
The new Registrar is Celia Blue, who already worked in the Department of Transportation.
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