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Erin Murphy latest councilor to try for lifetime sinecure in administrative job


Kelly Garrity reports that Councilor Erin Murphy (at large) is going to run this fall for the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County's clerk job that Maura Doyle recently announced she is retiring from.

Garrity reports that Murphy told her that her decades as a BPS teacher and her time on the council have well prepared her to handle what the clerk's office says is its responsibilities for "the single justice caseload of the Supreme Judicial Court, administrative and disciplinary matters filed by the Board of Bar Overseers affecting members of the bar, and matters relating to Bar Admission and the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."

According to her official bio, Doyle:

[R]eceived a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice, cum laude, from Northeastern University in 1977 and a Juris Doctor from Suffolk University School of Law in 1981. She has been a member of the bar since 1981. Before joining the SJC's Clerk's office in 1992 as an assistant clerk, she was a civil litigator in the state and federal courts for 11 years and served as an adjunct professor at Suffolk University Law School.

Mrs. Doyle is a guest lecturer at bar association meetings across the state, MCLE and CPCS training sessions, and law school forums. She has served as a member of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court committees on the rules of civil and appellate procedure; professionalism; electronic filing; and information technology and is currently a member of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s steering committee on bar admissions and committee to study S.J.C. Rule 3:03 (student practitioner rule).

Murphy will be running against Allison Cartwright, who, like Doyle, is an attorney. She's been a lawyer for 23 years, and is currently managing director for the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

If elected, Murphy would be the latest councilor to move from that body to a state or city administrative position.

After losing a re-election bid, at-large Councilor Steve Murphy won election as Suffolk County register of deeds. Fellow former at-large Councilor Felix Arroyo was elected Suffolk County register of probate. Former at-large and District 6 (Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury) Councilor Maura Hennigan is now clerk magistrate for Suffolk Superior Court's criminal division. Former Councilor (Dorchester) Maureen Feeney succeeded former Councilor Rosario Salerno (at large) as city clerk.

If Murphy does win the position, Bridget Nee-Walsh, who came in fifth for the race for the four at-large council seats in 2023, could fill the remainder of Murphy's term if she decides to take the job. That is how perennial candidate Althea Garrison finally got to spend a year on the council - she came in fifth in the 2017 elections, which under council rules meant she was offered the at-large seat Ayanna Pressley vacated after winning election to Congress in 2018.



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Running for office instead of ass-kissing? How dare they.

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Erin Murphy is scared of germs I don't know how she could do ass kissing.

Truly though, once she declared street sweepers were spreading disease from Mass and Cass across the city, it became my modest goal to never vote for her and wish her failure in any promotion in city government. Truly some vile beliefs and no brain cells to back them up.

Voting closed 27

Long past time to remove these positions from elected office and have them be appointed by the Governor or Secretary of State. It's a joke that Murphy wants to do this, especially where she isn't even an attorney herself. Maura Doyle is an experienced attorney who actually understands what she is doing and takes the role seriously. Erin Murphy would be a patronage clown show here.

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… she is a lawyer. With experience.

But so what.

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@Lee - that's the incumbent's resume.

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I could have better reading comprehension today.

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Caught me too @Lee.

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Tick season is about to begin.

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… or the devil you don’t?

Just spare us, Murphy!

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She might want to move on and continues her fundraisers.

Tried to support her recent referendum to expand BPS Sundays free at local museums to all Boston children, but it got shot down by a Wu loyalist. Seems like Murphy and Flynn didn’t do much groundwork to gain Council support other than issue press releases and tweets.

Would have guessed a race for Mayor, but this position seems an easier reach.

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she would have made a great Mayor for the City. Bringing residents together unlike the divisive current Mayor.
She’s been to more neighborhoods and events than Wu.
Any hope for the City just went down the Suffolk County tubes.

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You'll still have Ed Flynn.

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Please expound.

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When you say it, does it mean "makes a certain subset of the population frothing mad"?

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Maura Sweeney Doyle is an excellent Attorney with substantial legal experience prior to her election. Her contribution to the SJC job has been as an effective administrator and an educator of the public and the bar. Her legal knowledge and experience was a bonus. When Steve Murphy ran for Suffolk County Register of Deeds, many questioned his lack of a legal background. That position is also more administrative in nature, and he has done an outstanding job. Erin Murphy is an intelligent decent person. Anyone who can survive teaching in Boston, and serving on the dysfunctional Boston City Council, should have no problem working primarily as an administrator, in an environment surrounded by some of the best and the brightest in the legal profession.
Making this position appointed, rather than elected, would end voter-based vetting. Would any rational person trust the Governor or the Governor's Council to make that decision?

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The reason for democratic elections is so that the people's philosophies, ideological positions, goals, aspirations, and priorities can be reflected by our legislators and leaders.

A purely administrative position, for one thing, doesn't have an ideological or philosophical component. There is no liberal or conservative way to issue dog licenses, administer probate cases, or file property deeds in a filing cabinet; there is no discretion; there are merely rules to follow and staff to supervise. Having such a position be elected rather than appointed does not strengthen the voice of the people in any meaningful way.

As for vetting, the public has no way of evaluating whether a candidate is or is not an effective manager, which is really the only criterion for the job. And only a tiny number of voters ever interact with the probate court or any of these other elected fiefdoms, which means those holding the office are not meaningfully held accountable for how well the office works.

For these downballot races, it's not even a meaningful democratic choice: most people don't look into the candidates' qualifications; they either leave the race blank or vote as their machine ward boss tells them to vote. In a lot of ways, appointment by the governor would be more democratic than the existing system, in that the governor is held accountable by the voters for how well overall the government works.

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See Kim Davis; The former county clerk in Kentucky who said she refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses in 2015 because of her religious beliefs, must pay more than $260,000 in expenses and attorney fees to a couple whom she denied a license, a judge has ruled.

It never ends well though.

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Making this position appointed, rather than elected, would end voter-based vetting. Would any rational person trust the Governor or the Governor's Council to make that decision

Appointing managers to administrative posts and then supervising them is kinda what the Governor's job is, isn't it?

I've lived in places with 20 page ballots, where every administrative post from the water department to the dogcatcher to the receptionist at city hall is "elected". In practice it's corrupt as hell, because the jobs go, 100% of the time, to whoever the machine puts up for them, and the result is that the actual elected government, the mayor and city council, is not accountable: "Your trash isn't getting picked up? Don't come to me about it; the trash collectors are all elected and I have no control over any of that. "

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Turns out Murphy will be running against Allison Cartwright, who has been a trial attorney for 23 years. Added that to the story.

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Kyrsten Sinema

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At one point I respected Kyrsten Sinema

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And done in the finest traditions of Boston politics.

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A solid defense attorney in the trenches for years.

I urge everyone to vote for her

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