‘Tis the Season for Lame Duck Patronage Plums

Like Santa Claus, Gov. Charlie Baker is making a list and checking it twice.

The difference is, St. Nick’s had a bunch of names on his list, of all the good little boys and girls.

Charlie’s list has only one name at the top of it, and it’s written down twice.


Continuing the Yuletide theme, Ebenezer Scrooge did the right thing by Tiny Tim, who was 7 years old.

Charlie Parker (as Joe Biden calls him) did the right thing by Tiny Bob, Tiny Bob Jubinville, who is 76 years old.

That’s right. On his way out the door, Charlie Parker has nominated Bob Jubinville for the lifetime job of clerk magistrate of the Framingham District Court, which pays $174,532 a year.

Jubinville will never have to retire. It’s state law. Clerk magistrates don’t even have to show up, because they’re the ones keeping the time cards.

Right now Jubinville is on the Governor’s Council. He’s an elected member – my governor’s councilor in fact. His current pay is $36,025.08 a year.

So his new job works out to a pay raise of $138,506.92 a year. If, that is, Bob can get the votes. Do you know who votes on clerk magistrate nominations?

The Governor’s Council, of which Bob’s been a member for a decade, since he was a young whippersnapper of 66.

Sonny McDonough, the legendary governor’s councilor, once famously mused on these kinds of patronage plums being doled out by a governor on his way down the State House steps:

“Lame duck is my favorite dish.”

It sure is for the Jubinville family. Because, as I told you, there are two people named Jubinville on Santa Parker’s lame duck gift list this year.

The other name is Sarah Jubinville, Bob’s 46-year-old daughter. And guess who just become a judge in September, nominated by Charlie and approved by… the Governor’s Council.

Sarah used to be an assistant clerk magistrate in Plymouth Superior Court, where she made $119,414.86 a year. The clerk down there, by the way, is Bob Creedon, who used to be a state senator, whose brother Mike used to be a judge, before which he was a state senator, before which he was a state rep.)

But I digress. Back to Sarah Jubinville.

Now she’s making $207,855 a year. So Sarah in 2022 has gotten a pay raise of $88,440.14 in 2022. She’s set until she turns 70, when she’ll have to retire, sort of, because after the hack judge reaches the magic number, he or she goes on “recall,” which means, they collect the 80 percent kiss-in-the-pension and then keep working at a daily rate.

Did someone say… nationwide search?

Now, some people might wonder why even as shameless a hack as Charlie Parker would hand a lifetime no-heavy-lifting job to someone who’s 76 years old. The answer is… hackerama.

Once Jubinville is officially approved (the vote is next Tuesday will be 7-0), he will be known among his fellow $174,532-a-year clerk magistrates as “the kid.”

You think I’m kidding? Ask Arthur Tobin of Quincy District Court – 92 years young and still going, well, he’s still grabbing a paycheck.

Sal Paterna in Dedham – 83 years old. Joe Faretra in East Boston – 82 years old. That’s a big age for clerk magistrates – William Lisano in Lowell and Henry Shultz in Newton are also both 82 years old.

Shultz was appointed by Gov. Frank Sargent, who left office in 1975.

Jubinville is not a bad guy, as Jerry Williams used to say. I get along fine with him, always have. He’d have been a fool not to take a $174,532-a-year retirement.

Actually, I think he’d have preferred grabbing one of the other recent clerk vacancies, probably in Stoughton or Wrentham. They’re closer to his home in Milton, for one thing, but much more importantly, those are very sleepy courthouses. The caseloads are negligible, and what that means is that no one will notice if you’re… in the district, shall we say.

Framingham, on the other hand, is an actual city. There’s more people, there’s the Pike. Framingham celebrates diversity.

Still, I think Bob Jubinville can handle the arduous challenges of the job. Consider an earlier Framingham clerk, Tony Colonna, a former state rep who got the job in 1963.

Thirty-seven years later, Tony was still going strong – well, maybe not so strong, because by then he’d been accused of assaulting, first, a female assistant, and then a family member (with a knife).

But Clerk Colonna still hung in there until he was 85. He “retired” in April 2001 and died five months later. The next guy in Framingham fell off the roof on his house and died. I have a feeling Jubinville is having all ladders removed from his garage.

Then there was John Flaherty in South Boston, a former truck driver (and state rep). He was appointed in June 1946 (the same month Jubinville was born). He died, on the job, 58 years later, in 2004.

He was succeeded by a woman whose maiden name was Flaherty (no relation) whose father was a judge who had been a state rep, and who has since been appointed to a judgeship herself. Stop me if all this is starting to sound familiar.

Tuesday will be a busy day for the Council. They’ll also be having a hearing on another judicial nominee, Hank Naughton. He used to be a… state rep.

As James Michael Curley used to say, the Council is “a hock shop.”

The next question is, who will succeed Jubinville on the Governor’s Council? It’s up to the legislature. Jubinville took office after the death of Kelly Timilty, and then twice had to fend off one of her brothers, Bart, to hold onto the seat.

I’m guessing someone named Timilty has already made a call to House Speaker Ron Mariano. Maybe more than one of them – the Timiltys have never been averse to wedging another snout or two of theirs into the public trough.

Once you get on the Governor’s Council, who knows? Maybe you can get lucky too. Before Jubinville, in 2019 it was Jen Caissie, the last Republican on the Council, now the clerk in the deserted Dudley District Courthouse. Jubinville voted against Jen, by the way. But she still sent in a letter of recommendation for him at his hearing Wednesday.

No hard feelings, I guess, not at $174,532 a year. For life.

Living well is the best revenge. Merry Christmas.

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