DA-elect dinged for lack of trans­parency

Boston Herald - - NEWS - BY JOE DWINELL — [email protected]­her­

Suf­folk District At­tor­ney­elect Rachael Rollins is be­ing slammed for not re­leas­ing the full list of her tran­si­tion team mem­bers — in­clud­ing former con­victs — in what crit­ics are call­ing a po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous lack of trans­parency.

Rollins an­nounced her cochairs and steer­ing com­mit­tee mem­bers yes­ter­day, but did not iden­tify any of the mem­bers she has re­ferred to as “re­turn­ing ci­ti­zens” who did time be­hind bars.

A spokes­woman con­firmed the tran­si­tion team has sev­eral “formerly in­car­cer­ated” mem­bers. But she re­fused to re­lease their names, what crimes they were con­victed of, and how many ex-cons are on the list. Rollins did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to an in­ter­view re­quest.

De­spite the par­tial re­lease and con­fir­ma­tion of names, the spokes­woman said late Thurs­day that the list is be­ing fi­nal­ized and all names will be re­leased even­tu­ally.

Civil lib­er­tar­ian and at­tor­ney Har­vey Sil­ver­glate called the move “short­sighted and counter-pro­duc­tive” as the DA-elect pre­pares to take over Jan. 2.

“It’s the def­i­ni­tion of lack of trans­parency,” Sil­ver­glate said. “It’s com­mon sense to main­tain full trans­parency.”

Sil­ver­glate said open­ness will be vi­tal as Rollins be­gins to act on her con­tro­ver­sial list of charges she has said she will not pros­e­cute. Those charges in­clude re­sist­ing ar­rest, drug deal­ing and posses­sion, shoplift­ing and tres­pass­ing.

The no-pros­e­cute list is “un­ortho­dox” and not shar­ing the en­tire team mem­ber­ship is “in­ex­pli­ca­ble,” said David Tuerck of the Bea­con Hill In­sti­tute.

“There are 1,000 rea­sons why it’s a bad idea,” Tuerck added. “Ev­ery­body has to be known to the pub­lic. It’s sus­pi­cious to be as­sem­bling a group of ex-cons and to then not tell who the peo­ple are.”

But Mayor Mar­tin J. Walsh raised no ob­jec­tion to the in­com­ing DA’s con­tro­ver­sial moves.

Walsh spokes­woman Saman­tha Ormsby said in a state­ment last night: “The mayor be­lieves District At­tor­ney-elect Rollins should run the tran­si­tion how she sees fit.”

Ear­lier this week, one tran­si­tion team mem­ber who said he wants to “re­de­fine gang­ster” and used the hash­tag “#Sin­gleCel­lToSin­gleDad” posted on Face­book that he’s ea­ger to grill pros­e­cu­tors and homi­cide unit staffers who are look­ing to keep their jobs. Rollins con­firmed at that time that Chris­tian White is on the tran­si­tion team, telling the Her­ald he had taken “re­spon­si­bil­ity for de­ci­sions he made in the past … if peo­ple pay their debt to so­ci­ety they should be wel­comed back.”

The tran­si­tion team mem­bers that Rollins did name in­clude co-chairs Mar­tin Mur­phy and Natashia Tid­well. Both are vet­eran at­tor­neys who served as pros­e­cu­tors, with Mur­phy work­ing both on the state and fed­eral level, while Tid­well was also a po­lice of­fi­cer.

Rollins said re­tired judges, clergy, law en­force­ment of­fi­cials and “select mem­bers of the lo­cal com­mu­nity” will also be on the team.

Steer­ing com­mit­tee mem­bers in­clude the Rev. Wil­lie Bo­drick II, from Roxbury’s Twelfth Bap­tist Church, and re­tired Supreme Ju­di­cial Court Jus­tice Geral­dine Hines.

Daniel P. Mul­h­ern, se­nior ad­viser to the mayor and di­rec­tor of the city’s Of­fice of Pub­lic Safety, is also on board.

Donna Pata­lano, who once worked in the Suf­folk DA’s of­fice and ran for district at­tor­ney in Mid­dle­sex County, los­ing to fel­low Demo­crat in­cum­bent Mar­ian Ryan this fall, is also on the steer­ing com­mit­tee. Pata­lano has been act­ing as Rollins’ spokes­woman dur­ing the tran­si­tion.


‘SHORT­SIGHTED’: Suf­folk DA-elect Rachael Rollins is be­ing crit­i­cized for not shar­ing the full list of mem­bers on her tran­si­tion team, which in­cludes ex-cons.

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