REPORT TO THE CITIZENS OF THE 8TH DISTRICT OF THE GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL
I am pleased to offer to the citizens of the 8th District this Report of the Governor's Council after my first 100 days in office.
Allow me to convey my sincere thanks to the citizens of the counties of Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin and Berkshire for this unique opportunity to serve the public as a Member of the Governor's Council. I remain deeply grateful.
Since January 3, 2013 the Council has acted upon 13 Judicial nominations of Governor Patrick for positions in the Juvenile, District, Superior, Appeals and Boston Municipal Courts.
The nominees of the Governor have been extremely diverse, qualified and representative of the citizens of the Commonwealth. I am pleased to have voted to Confirm each of these nominations as all have been consistent with my pledge - and representative of the values of the citizens of western Massachusetts - to bring greater diversity to the bench.
In addition, the Council has acted on nominations from the Governor to the Parole Board, Appellate Tax Board, Public Administrators and 7 Judges to the Industrial Accident Board.
I am extremely pleased Governor Patrick has responded to my requests to fill the position of Superior Court Justice for Hampden County; and, at the time of this report, is in the process of filling the vacant Judicial positions in the Holyoke and Northampton District Courts. These positions are necessary to administer justice to our citizens in the western district.
Councillors Robert Jubinville (D-Milton), Jennie Caissie (R-Oxford) and I toured the Palmer District Court on March 22nd in an effort to highlight staffing shortages and to make funding recommendations to the Legislature.
On April 3rd, Councillor Jubinville and I met with Springfield District Court officials, including Presiding Justice William Boyle and Clerk Magistrate John Gay to determine their personnel needs. Springfield is the busiest District Court in the Commonwealth. Following our meeting, a letter was forwarded to Speaker Robert DeLeo on April 13th requesting a Special Appropriation. [Copy submitted for this Report]
At the invitation of Chief Administrative Judge Maureen Walsh, Councillor Jubinville and I will continue our tours on May 17th to the Holyoke and Northampton District Courts to assess personnel and funding needs.
On April 5th, I met with Senior Judge Omar Hernandez, Judges Catherine Koziol, Cristina Poulter and Steven Rose along with assistants in the Springfield Office of the Industrial Accident Board to discuss the process and procedures of this agency. The public is extremely well served by this division of the Executive office of Labor and Workforce Development.
On January 8th, I met with the Massachusetts Parole Board in Natick and observed a Full Board Hearing on a life sentence. I was pleased to Chair the hearing of the nomination by the Governor of Parole Board Member Lucy M. Soto-Abbey of Springfield. Ms. Soto-Abbey was Confirmed by the Council on March 6th to a five year term.
The Council has also confirmed dozens of Notaries and Justices of the Peace to Marry; and voted on Treasury Warrants, on average of $800 million, on a weekly basis. [April 3, 2013 - Treasury Warrant Enclosed]
In March, I announced the scheduling of Office Hours to be held on the first Monday of each month; and, by appointment in my East Longmeadow Office located at 280 North Main Street, Suite 3. Constituents are encouraged to contact me at 413-525-4438.
Office hours in the counties of Hampshire, Franklin and Berkshire will be held on a rotating basis with scheduling announcements to be made each quarter. A citizen with any concern is urged to contact me and appropriate arrangements shall be made for discussion.
On April 10th, a website was launched for the purpose of developing a Judicial Accountability Center. Interested parties may log on the mikegovcouncil.com and participate confidentially in a judicial survey.
Respectfully Submitted on this day, the 15th of April, 2013.
Michael J. Albano