DCR official forced to resign for misusing vehicle
The Department of Conservation and Recreation’s deputy commissioner who resigned Friday was forced out because he had inappropriately used the siren and flashing lights on his state-issued vehicle to get through heavy traffic in Boston, administration officials said Saturday.
Matthew Sisk, a GOP political operative in Charlie Baker’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign who was recently reprimanded over another controversy, was removed after State Police reported the incident to the administration on Thursday.
The State Police said Saturday they did not stop Sisk while he was driving but rather had received a complaint about a state car operating with “emergency equipment activated” on Congress Street in the Seaport District on previous dates. State Police officials said they are conducting an investigation and had no further comment.
Administration officials declined to explain Sisk’s removal on Friday. But on Saturday they released a statement to the Globe that said he had “inappropriately” used the car he was issued.
The statement also said the incident prompted Baker to order a review of the use of such equipment by state workers.
“Governor Baker is disappointed to learn of the deputy commissioner’s poor judgment in inappropriately using a state vehicle,’’ said Baker’s 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.”
Sisk, who was paid $112,200 at DCR, does not appear to be facing serious charges. Violation of the statute governing the use of the lights and sirens carries a fine of up to $300.
His apparent misuse of the car comes amid the administration’s review of the practice of state workers taking their state-issued cars home each night.
Sisk had recently come under fire for using public resources for a July 3 GOP party on Beacon Street, including arranging for guests to be transported by state-owned golf carts to the Esplanade for fireworks and a show by the Boston Pops.
Baker earlier last month ordered that Sisk and his boss, Commissioner Leo Roy, take a week’s leave of absence without pay following the incident.
The Department of Conservation and Recreation falls under the purview of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, where Baker’s office recently ordered an investigation into a separate allegation of state employee misconduct. In that case, a state worker alleged that she was threatened with retaliation by Republican co-workers after her fiancé, a Democrat, launched a campaign against a sitting GOP state senator.
Jerome Parker-O’Grady, the worker’s fiancé, is taking on Senator Donald F. Humason Jr., a Westfield Republican.
The governor said last week he found the allegations “unbelievably disturbing” but told reporters that Matthew Beaton, the secretary of energy and environmental affairs, “has my full and unequivocal support.”