Lieutenant Tim Murray is one lucky dude. You might say he has escaped with his life. The affable former three-term mayor of Worcester has never been able to elude the bad karma surrounding his mysterious early morning car accident in 2011 and his unsavory connection with felon Chelsea Housing Authority Michael McLaughlin, who also did (possibly illegal) fundraising for Murray. Once considered the frontrunner in a 2014 race to succeed Deval Patrick in the corner office, Murray ended up announcing a few months ago that he wouldn't run. But most people thought he would at least complete his second term as the lieutenant governor.
Today he announced he had accepted a post as president of the Worcester Chamber of Commerce, starting in June, at a salary at least 60 percent more than the $125,000 he makes in the state's number two spot. These positions running large chambers of commerce don't come around often. They typically are well paid (The Boston Herald reported in March, 2009 that the Boston Chamber's Paul Guzzi then earned well over $330,000), and they are long-term employment with the public esteem that comes from high visibility positions. Murray wanted to grab the brass ring while it was being offered, and who can blame him?
The voters of Massachusetts, for one. He was elected to a four-year term, with an implicit pledge to finish his term. Yes, we can probably go without a lieutenant governor, but Patrick has allowed Murray to be a good lieutenant governor, with meaningful responsibilities. As a former mayor, Murray has been an effective local liaison. He has been out front on housing, transportation and veterans issues, much more than a figurehead lieutenant governor. The law provides no process for naming a replacement, and, if the governor is out of town, Secretary of State Bill Galvin becomes acting governnor. But Murray's missing day-to-day role will need to be picked up by Patrick's staff and cabinet officials.
In the wake of the announcement, the Globe reports that Worcester savants are grumbling that Murray's being thwarted in his bid for the corner office resulted from an anti-Worcester bias. That's nonsense. He was dogged by that accident and his relationship with McLaughlin. That's specific to Murray. Period. He'll likely do a good job at the chamber, and he'll probably have a good time doing it. Chalk up another successful exit from the revolving door of public service.
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