MA Gov 'Reassigns' State Highway Safety Director Who Can't Drive Without Causing Accidents, Breaking Laws

Elect an incompetent hack to office, and he surrounds himself with other incompetent hacks.

The administration of Governor Deval Patrick, embarrassed by revelations that the state highway safety director has a driving record that includes seven accidents, four speeding violations and two failures to stop for a police officer, announced today that the director will be removed from that job.

Sheila Burgess, the top safety officer since 2007, is on medical leave recovering from an Aug. 24 one-car accident in Milton in which she drove off the road and suffered a head injury. She told police she swerved to avoid an oncoming vehicle in her lane.

Burgess will be assigned to a “different role” within the state Office of Public Safety and Security, according to a statement released today by Mary Elizabeth Heffernan, the public safety secretary.

“Given her driving record, it is clear that Ms. Burgess should not have been hired as the director of Highway Safety in 2007,” Heffernan said in the statement.

Burgess is a former fund-raising consultant to high-profile Democratic candidates for public office, including Congressman James McGovern, whose office said on Friday that McGovern asked the newly elected Patrick administration in 2007 to hire Burgess, but without suggesting a specific role for her. She is paid $87,000 annually.

Burgess had no experience in public safety, transportation or government administration when hired, according to her resume.

Heffernan called Burgess “a solid and dependable employee” during the intervening years, but today, following a Globe story that revealed her driving record, said she no long has confidence in Burgess leading the state’s efforts to reduce accidents by promoting good driving practices.


Of course she didn’t. She raised money well, and that was enough to earn some patronage.

Burgess will be “reassigned” to another job that will pay her $87,000 to continue being unfit for her job.


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