Governor Charlie Baker on Monday said he has “full confidence” in the state’s chief medical examiner and defended her decision to keep her former chief of staff on the payroll despite the fact she misrepresented her resumé to officials.
Baker said he believes Dr. Mindy Hull, selected by his administration to lead the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in October, made the right call in suspending, cutting the pay, and removing Lisa Riccobene from the role of chief of staff, just months after Hull picked her for the position.
Baker confirmed that Riccobene “misrepresented her educational qualifications,” weeks after the Globe reported that her claim of earning a master’s degree from Northeastern University was not verified by school records.
State officials later said she would be demoted from her $112,000-a-year position and return under a different title, with a $90,000 salary. But after Riccobene returned from a two-week suspension, Hull told administrative staffers who Riccobene had once overseen that her duties would “remain largely the same” as an office support liaison, a newly created role.
Baker said he thinks Hull handled the situation appropriately.
“First of all, we have full confidence in the chief medical examiner,” Baker told reporters Monday. “We believe she is the right person for the job.”
He also defended Riccobene, saying the medical examiner’s office and the district attorneys to whom she has served as a liaison vouch for her work.
“She’s a valued member of the team and someone who provides a tremendous amount of value, especially to the DAs,” Baker said. “That she is still there speaks to the fact that, despite the fact that she misrepresented her educational qualifications, she’s been a good employee who’s done a lot of good work.
“I think the demotion, the $22,000 cut in pay, and the suspension was an appropriate response to that,” he said.
Riccobene has worked in the office since 2005. Officials said she’ll continue to serve as a point of contact for other state agencies and grieving families, and will be responsible for approving time sheets of administrative staff.