Former Mass. highway safety director formally resigns

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November 21, 2012, 9:50 pm
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(NECN: Alysha Palumbo, Boston) - Days after Massachusetts' Highway Safety Director Sheila Burgess was exposed for her lengthy driving record and removed from her post, she has officially resigned from the Executive Office.

Burgess, who is on medical leave for a head injury suffered in an August crash, sent a letter to Public Safety and Security Director Mary Beth Heffernan, making no mention of the scandal.
"It has been my pleasure to serve this Administration over the past five years. However, at this time I feel my health must be my first priority," Burgess said in part.
Secretary Heffernan responded with her own statement saying, "She should not have been hired for the position and while she has been a solid and dependable employee ... she could not expect the public's trust if she were to continue in the position."
"We screwed up on this one and I've acknowledged that," said Mass. Governor Deval Patrick on Tuesday.
Governor Patrick has been open about his anger over this oversight since the news first broke.

He released a statement on Wednesday saying, "Given her driving background, it was a mistake to hire her for this position. Her resignation will allow her to focus on her health and allow the department to move forward with its mission."

The governor said Tuesday that Burgess should have disclosed her driving history on this employment form when she was first hired in 2007, but he says there should have been more checks and balances in place.
"We do tax checks, we do criminal background checks, we do driving record checks and had that been done and done properly back in 2007 certainly this person wouldn't have been placed in this position," the governor said on Tuesday.

Tags: massachusetts, Deval Patrick, Alysha Palumbo, driving record, highway safety director, Shelia Burgess, Mary Beth Heffernan
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