The Department of Conservation and Recreation has been having a rough month. In late August it came to light that two high-ranking employees used government funds (also commonly called “taxpayer’s money”) to throw a pre-Fourth of July party.
Commissioner Leo Roy and Deputy Commissioner Matthew Sisk were suspended for a week without pay at the beginning of September for their roles in the party planning.
This week, it was announced that Sisk resigned his position at the DCR. Depending on the news source, the resignation was listed as either “quit” or “forced to resign”, which are very different causes (however, same outcome for both).
“Matthew Sisk has resigned effective immediately. As this is a personnel matter, no other information is available,” Peter Lorenz, spokesman for Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (DCR’s parents agency), said in a statement.
The resignation surrounds Sisk’s inappropriate use of the siren and flashing lights on his state-issues vehicle. According to the Boston Globe, he used the sirens to cut through traffic in Boston.
Cue every other Boston driver saying “I KNEW IT” (or maybe it was just me who always thought that cops used the sirens for this purpose).
State Police stated Saturday they received a complaint about a government-issued vehicle driving “with emergency equipment activated” in the Seaport District. After these issues were uncovered Governor Charlie Baker started a review of employee’s use of the emergency equipment in state-issued cars.
“Governor Baker is disappointed to learn of the deputy commissioner’s poor judgment in inappropriately using a state vehicle,’’ said communication director Lizzy Guyton. “He accepts his resignation and looks forward to a thorough review to ensure lights and sirens are strictly used for emergency purposes.”
This is bound to lead to more regulations, however the fact I found more shocking is that the fine for the misuse of lights and sirens is only $300. I think Sisk would have preferred the fine to his punishment.
On top of all of these personnel issues, on Thursday the DCR mistakenly sent out a tweet in support of ballot question 2 (lifting the charter school cap).
A staffer mistakenly sent the tweet from the DCR twitter account rather than their personal one. Ethics rules are against using public resources (such as a twitter account) for political purposes. I’m interested to see what the next faux-pas will be for this department.