Republican Governor Charlie Baker said Thursday he finds “unbelievably disturbing” allegations by a state worker that she was threatened with retaliation after her fiancé, a Democrat, launched a campaign against a sitting GOP state senator.
Baker told reporters the claims, reported Thursday in the Boston Herald, came to the attention of his office about 10 days ago. (A Baker aide later said Baker misspoke and the governor’s legal office and the governor were actually made aware of initial allegations in June.) Baker said his office told the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, where the employee, Cynthia Lewis, works, to conduct an investigation.
“The allegations are extremely troubling, and we want to see what comes out of that investigation,” Baker said. “We expect it will be done soon and we will act accordingly.”
Baker, voice anguished, said, “No one in our administration should ever, ever threaten anybody [for] engag[ing] in civic endeavors as a private citizen. Period. And I take that type of allegation really seriously.”
State records show that a Cynthia Lewis is a program coordinator at EEA. A voice mail message left at a telephone number associated with that name was not returned. A message left for Jerome Parker-O’Grady, reportedly her fiancé, was not returned either.
The Herald reported that Lewis was threatened after Parker-O’Grady kicked off a campaign for Senate. An EEA staffer suggested she break off her engagement, and said if Parker-O’Grady continued his bid, her career with the state would be over, according to what the newspaper described as a letter from lawyers.
Parker-O’Grady is taking on Senator Donald F. Humason Jr., a Westfield Republican, on Nov. 8. Humason did not return a voice mail message seeking comment.
But an aide sent a written statement attributed to Humason: “I share the Governor’s concerns about these allegations. Like him, I do not condone this type of behavior in our state government.”
The Energy and Environmental Affairs office is led by Secretary Matthew A. Beaton.
Beaton’s secretariat ran into trouble this summer. Two top staffers at the Department of Conservation and Recreation were suspended without pay for using state resources for a private party with GOP bigwigs.
In response to a reporter’s question, Baker said: “Secretary Beaton has my full and unequivocal support.”
Joshua Miller can be reached
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