By Erin Tiernan
A state senator is calling for an oversight hearing following revelations that Gov. Charlie Baker did indeed meet with the disgraced former head of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home where a deadly coronavirus outbreak claimed the lives of 76 veterans last spring prior to his hiring.
“The governor ‘forgot’ who he hired and a head had to roll, so he sent the Lawrence kid packing. Our local Purple Heart veteran, Francisco Urena, should certainly receive an apology from Baker,” Sen. Diana DiZoglio told the Herald.
Urena, the former secretary of veterans affairs, was asked to resign in the fallout over the coronavirus outbreak that would eventually claim a total 77 veterans’ lives.
DiZoglio sent a letter Tuesday to Senate President Karen Spilka calling for sworn testimony from the governor and administration officials “utilizing the full subpoena and record review powers within the Legislature’s purview.”
A report produced by former U.S. attorney Mark Pearlstein, who Charlie Baker hired to investigate the deadly outbreak, found Walsh — who had no prior experience in health care or nursing homes — was “unqualified” for the job.
Baker claimed several times that he never met Walsh but a report released by the legislature last week found the two had a meeting prior to Walsh’s hiring.
“I forgot,” Baker said Friday during a press conference at the State House. “The board at Holyoke, which had the legal authority to do so, chose him and he and I had a brief interview before I swore him in.”
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