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Transition, planning continues for Massachusetts Gov.-elect Maura Healey

A 2014 photograph of the fourth floor of the Massachusetts Statehouse just outside the public galleries and the press room.
Sam Doran
/
State House News Service
A 2014 photograph of the fourth floor of the Massachusetts Statehouse just outside the public galleries and the press room.

As departing lawmakers make their final speeches on Beacon Hill this week. Transition and planning continue for the governor-elect.

This week, members of the Massachusetts House who are departing will make their farewell speeches. With lots of extra space at the statehouse, Gov.-elect Maura Healey and Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Driscoll have moved into an office. Matt Murphy of the State House News Service says this move is customary and doesn’t provide any proximal advantages for Healey and Driscoll in these last weeks leading up to the inauguration.

Matt Murphy, State House News Service: Well, with the exception of today, as some lawmakers will be gathering in the building to hear farewell speeches from their colleagues in both the House and Senate, as more than two dozen are planning to move on to new offices or new jobs, proximity to lawmakers is in short supply over these coming weeks.

Not a lot of people are in the building at this time of year, but it is traditional for the current administration to make space in the building for the new administration so that they can bring in a team. And as they bring on more personnel, those people can get acclimated to the Statehouse, have easy access to the current governor's staff, should they have questions as they begin to set up, transfer email addresses and get ready to roll on day one. So, this is part of the transition and it's long been a hallmark of what has been — even between Republican and Democratic parties — a cordial handoff of power.

Carrie Healy, NEPM: As Gov. Charlie Baker's administration empties out his offices for Maura Healey, are there any items that will stick around? Are there specific traditions that they will probably uphold as Baker leaves office?

Sure. One thing an incoming governor often gets to do is they get to pick which portraits hang in the governor's office and in the suites. Of course, during the Patrick administration at the end of it, the executive suite underwent a major renovation, so it is fully refurbished. Governor Baker opted not to use the ceremonial office as his own. He had a small office in the back of the suite that he used to work from while Governor Patrick worked from the main ceremonial office. The portraits ... is one way governors can put a personal mark on the office. Governor Baker, of course, hangs Governor Volpe's portrait in the ceremonial governor's office. Governor Volpe went on to become transportation secretary, and Baker's father worked under him in the Nixon administration. Lieutenant Governor Polito hung Governor Cellucci's portrait in her office. So, we’ll see what Healey and Lieutenant Governor-elect Driscoll choose to do there.

Deval Patrick, who left office in 2015, was criticized for spending $27,000 on those new curtains and furniture. Since then, a long time since 2015, inflation. Matt, any expectations from Healey?

Yeah. No. In addition to some of those trappings that Governor Patrick brought in at the end of his eight years, the executive suite went through a full historic renovation that was needed. So that office has been redone and is ready for the new governor.

So, as others in leadership positions are facing transitions with the new administration, those nine cabinet secretaries, for instance, Jim Peyser, who directs the Executive Office of Education, they get appointed by the governor. So what do we expect to see through this transition process from the current cabinet secretaries? Do they stick around after Baker leaves, or do they each resign?

Well, typically, what is standard here is that most of these cabinet secretaries will move along with the new administration. Now, Healey, of course, as has been noted, has been slow to put together her team. We have not yet heard a single name for her new cabinet, which is much behind the pace set by Governor Baker when he first came in.

At this point in time, the governor had named a number of people. Typically, as the incoming administration names these new cabinet secretaries, the transition between the new person and the old office will begin and that person will give way once Governor Healey is sworn in.

Now, it's not unusual to see some officials in charge of departments and agencies a little further down the pecking order stick around for a month or so while new teams get in place, and they begin to hire some of those secondary and tertiary positions. But we just don't know here, given how Healey has not yet named anyone to her incoming administration. So, there could be some overlap, there's certainly a potential that people could stick around.

Carrie Healy hosts the local broadcast of "Morning Edition" at NEPM. She also hosts the station’s weekly government and politics segment “Beacon Hill In 5” for broadcast radio and podcast syndication.