The City Council today appointed former Councilor Maureen Feeney as city clerk in a process that would have taken about 30 seconds if council President Steve Murphy had not taken the opportunity to rail against "the broadsheets" and a former mayoral candidate.
For 15 minutes, Murphy excoriated the Globe and Kevin McCrea, accusing them of creating a circus with moving goalposts that bordered on harassment and only showed they want to chose the next city clerk, but they don't have the right because who elected them?
"The media wants to disqualify anybody and everybody who has had the good fortune to be elected by their peers and by [their constituents]," he said. "They resent the fact the city charter gives US the authority to [pick the clerk]. They want the authority. And who gave them the authority? No one."
Murphy said he ran a completely open process to find a new clerk, and it's not Feeney's fault she was clearly the most qualified of the 26 people who applied, with 18 years of leadership in municipal government. He said half the applicants didn't even have bachelor's degrees.
He blasted "the broadsheets" for spending what he said was an inordinate amount of time reporting on and criticizing the selection process and questioned why these newspapers aren't spending as much time investigating the selection of members for the new state gaming commission, which will oversee "billions and billons" of dollars worth of gambling transactions.
And he accused McCrea of making "a circus" and "a spectacle" out of interviews with Feeney and the other finalist, Natalie Carithers of Dorchester, by, he said, sticking a camera in Feeney's face. "It bordered on harassment," he said.
Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury) rose briefly to explain why he was voting "present," instead of for Feeney: The council, he said, should have taken more time than the week Murphy set aside to look for candidates. "We have fallen short of the best process," he said. Councilor Charles Yancey (Dorchester), voted for Carrithers. All other councilors voted for Feeney. Because Feeney resigned her seat before her replacement, Frank Baker, could take office, there was no vote from District 3.