Governor’s Councilor Jen Caissie was named Clerk Magistrate of the Dudley District Court Wednesday by her fellow councilors, the latest politically connected candidate put forward by the Baker-Polito administration.
Councilors Robert Jubinville and Marilyn Devaney cast the two dissenting votes while the remaining councilors approved, making Caissie the third clerk-magistrate candidate with close ties to Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito to land a lifetime appointment to a job that pays more than $155,084 per year.
None of the councilors questioned Caissie’s qualifications during a hearing last week, but Jubinville and Devaney had raised concerns about the “string of appointments” that have been “controversial.” Devaney argued Wednesday that the vote is “unethical” and “unacceptable.”
“No sitting Councillor should be allowed to apply for a judicial position. The Governor’s Councillor competed against qualified people of the public who have applied for the same position. This is not an open and fair process in any sense of the term,” Devaney said. “We are asked today to confirm a sitting Governor’s Councillor who serves on the very body responsible for confirming judicial nominees.”
Caissie has more than 20 years of legal experience, a Juris Doctorate degree and a membership with the U.S. Supreme Court Bar, but several raised concerns about the circumstances around her nomination during Wednesday’s hearing.
The Baker-Polito administration has come under fire for recent appointments including Shrewsbury Police Detective Lt. Joseph McCarthy Jr., who coached Polito’s son in youth football in their hometown, to the Westboro District Court clerk-magistrate job earlier this month, as well as Sharon Shelfer Casey, Polito’s college friend and former executive director of the Judicial Nominating Commission, who landed the top clerk’s post at Cambridge District Court in May.