Governor's Council Seventh District
The Massachusetts Governor's Council, also known as the Executive Council, is composed of eight individuals elected from districts, plus the Lieutenant Governor who serves ex officio. The eight councillors are elected from their districts every two years. The Council meets weekly to record advice and consent on warrants for the state treasury, pardons and commutations, and recording advice and consent to gubernatorial appointments such as judges, clerk-magistrates, public administrators, members of the Parole Board, Appellate Tax Board, Industrial Accident Board and Industrial Accident Reviewing Board, notaries, and justices of the peace. Base salary is $36,025.
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Paul M. DePalo
State your relevant background and qualifications, particularly as they relate to the judicial nominating process.
How would you respond to someone who says that the Governor's Council is outdated? Why is this body still essential in the Commonwealth?
What is important to you when evaluating candidates for the parole board?
What would you do to improve diversity on the courts?
Are changes needed in the way the Governor’s Council approves candidates?
I've worked with kids caught up in the courts as an attorney and as an educator, so I know that we need trauma-informed juvenile courts that put kids on paths of opportunity, not of incarceration. We also should better utilize diversion programs for dealing with mental health and addiction, bring diversity to the bench, and address systemic racism in our criminal justice system. We need my perspective, energy, and presence in the community on the Governor's Council. More about me: pauldepalo.com
Outdated or not, the Council’s in our Constitution, so we need to shine a light on its importance: legislative terms are two years, Governor’s are four; judges serve for decades.
The Council should be a check on the Governor, with power to shape the judiciary. Too often though, it’s a body of patronage and rubber stamps. We need Councillors who will stand up for a thoughtful, diverse, forward-thinking judiciary.
We need parole reform. We waste money aggressively jailing people on technical, non-criminal violations. Mental illness is often an excuse to deny parole. The Parole Board neglects its duty, failing to hold a commutation hearing since 2015. In 2002 the Boston Bar Assn. called for a Board with diverse professional backgrounds-- two decades later it remains overwhelmingly law enforcement (only one mental health expert), and overwhelmingly white. I want a diverse Board that’ll tackle these issues.
Our state judges are only 11% people of color and 44% women.There’ve been less than a handful of non-white judges in Central MA over the last few DECADES. Yet: we have the nation’s highest Latino incarceration rate; we incarcerate Blacks at disproportionate rates; and a majority of kids in juvenile court are Black and Latino. I expect us to get serious about having judges who look like the people in their courtrooms, and I will vote accordingly until equity is achieved.
Changes are absolutely needed. Presently, there are barriers to holding the Council accountable, and a lack of transparency. One literally needs to go to the statehouse to research a Councillor’s votes. This needs to change: selecting judges is too important to be done in the cloak of darkness.
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