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First official candidate for Suffolk County register of probate doesn't live in Suffolk County

Felix Arroyo opened up a vacancy as Suffolk County Register of Probate when he retired earlier this month. The first person to officially signal he's running for the office, by registering a campaign with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, is Vincent Procopio of Saugus.

Saugus is not in Suffolk County, but unlike candidates for district attorney or register of deeds, registers of probate don't have to live in the county they want to serve. The job entails overseeing a state-funded office for handling wills and the like. It pays $174,000 a year.

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Honestly only political hacks with no experience seem to get these jobs. I'd vote for a guy from Saugus if he knew what he was doing and promised to just do the job. It is not the sort of job that requires you interact with the public on a regular basis unless they are doing business with you at the agency. Ideally it is the sort of job where the person goes in, does the work and then goes home.

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Register Procopio has turned Suffolk around. I don’t care if he lives on Mars. This man has my vote along with many of my fellow practicing attorneys.

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a carpetbagger

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Does anyone know why this is an elected position, and not a 'technocrat' position like Transportation Chief, or Education Commissioner? Why doesn't a career probate expert (probationer? ) simply move up to Chief?

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Because if it was an appointed position, looking at the history of those in massachusetts, the job would go to know-nothing cousins. The idea being if it's elected, the electorate can make an educated decision on the most qualified person.

The problem here is that a huge amount of the electorate doesn't know what the register of probate even does, let alone what skills are needed for it. Same with, say, registry of deeds.

Seems like there has to be some kind of fair way to do this that doesn't involve a bunch of BS electioneering. Maybe make it appointed but limit appointees to those already working in the department or something.

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I cannot think of any good reason for a purely administrative job to be an elected position, and I can think of a lot of bad reasons.

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What did he do before he became acting Register of Probate of Suffolk County?

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As a probate attorney, I do a lot of work with the probate court. Vinnie has been incredible at helping me move along matters that seem to disappear into the abyss that is the Suffolk Probate Court. I can think of no one better to take the helm there. He for sure has my vote.

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