In recent years the question has arisen as to whether the Governor’s Council is respectful of those that appear before it.
As someone who has attended many hearings in the past four years I can say wholeheartedly, YES.
At times some members of the media have attempted to portray the Governor’s Council as clowns (Boston Phoenix January 14, 2009), that accomplish nothing and are of little value.
The most well-known function of the council -- the approval of nominations to the judiciary -- certainly is of great importance. Imagine if the U.S. Senate were stripped of its ability to vet nominations to our federal courts.
The conduct of the council came under fire as it moved from being an office that often rubber stamped appointments to these positions, to an office that actually questioned the nominees about their experience and qualifications for the positions they have been nominated to.
Two issues seemed to drive the criticism of the Council.
First, as it became more involved there was a learning curve, people that were not necessarily great public speakers had to grow into that role.
Second, there are those that wish to protect the judiciary from any criticism. As a body politic made up of human beings, the judiciary should be as open to criticism as any other body politic, but there are apparently those that disagree and some of those are employed by the media.
The view often presented by the media is interesting because media personnel seldom attend the meetings or hearings of the Governor’s Council, and when they do their reporting they often miss the points of the issue being raised.
The Governor’s Council meetings are like many other public meetings, where one has the opportunity to hear views and comments not their own. They can be contentious, as town meetings may be, but in my view they have always been respectable.
The role of the Governor’s Council is an important role that needs to be done until a new way for accomplishing the tasks put before them is created. I have not heard anyone suggest that there is a cheaper way to accomplish this task.
Just think, how easy is it to tell someone no when they are applying for a job for which they are not qualified?