Charlie Baker Condemns DCR Golf Cart Rides at Private Party

The fallout continues after DCR heads' decision to use state resources for a private GOP get-together.

golf cart

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The fallout continues for two Department of Conservation and Recreation officials, whose use of state resources for a private party has come under scrutiny. Gov. Charlie Baker has now weighed in, saying the party-planning process for the July 3 get-together, and the unauthorized ferrying of guests on official golf carts, is “not the kind of behavior we support and we don’t condone it.”

Leo Roy and Matthew Sisk, the DCR’s commissioner and deputy commissioner, were both suspended without pay and ordered to pay back $800 this week after news surfaced about a GOP gathering on Beacon Street that involved the use of some DCR property and resources.

Guests reportedly rode on DCR golf carts from the party, inside the home of Republican national committeeman Ron Kaufman, to the Hatch Shell for that night’s pre-Fourth of July concert on the Esplanade. Also, DCR staff reportedly spent time on duty drafting invitations and organizing the affair. Sisk, in addition to his job with the DCR, serves on the Republican State Committee. WCVB investigator (and Boston’s most notorious party snitch) Mike Beaudet first reported the story.

“The most important thing we need to do as an administration is retain and manage the public trust, and a big part of the public trust is ensuring the people on our team play by the same rules everybody else plays by,” Baker said, adding, “I think the fact the secretary suspended them for a week without pay sends exactly the right kind of message that this is not the kind of behavior we support and we don’t condone it.”

Republican leaders in the state have pressured Baker to fire the DCR heads, and for Sisk to resign his committee position.

“It will be the best combined Quarter-of-a-Million dollars the governor ever saved the Commonwealth to see Sisk follow Conroy out the door—and not just to a closet or another desk where they still ‘advise’ the Governor,” Massachusetts Republican Assembly President Mary Lou Daxland said in a statement Wednesday night, according to the State House News Service. “Sisk’s actions are totally unacceptable and mar our State Government as well as our State Committee. His actions are an insult to every honest state worker, and it’s a tragedy that these abuses happen while teachers and MBTA workers get laid off because of ‘insufficient revenue,’ we’re told.”

The Herald tried to ask a few questions of Roy, who was performing last night in a musical called “The Boys from Syracuse” at (not kidding) the Hatch Shell, but was unsuccessful.