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Franco promises to bring balance to Governor's Council

Date: 10/29/2012

By G. Michael Dobbs

Voters throughout Western Massachusetts will have the choice between former Springfield Mayor Michael Albano and conservative activist and veteran Michael Franco for seat on the Governor's Council.

According to the Commonwealth's website, the council is "composed of eight individuals elected from districts, and the lieutenant governor who serves ex-officio. The eight councilors are elected from their respective districts every two years.

The council meets weekly to record advice and consent on warrants for the state treasury, pardons and commutations, and recording advice and consent to gubernatorial appointments such as judges, clerk-magistrates, public administrators, members of the Parole Board, Appellate Tax Board, Industrial Accident Board and Industrial Accident Reviewing Board, notaries and justices of the peace."

Former Judge Thomas Merrigan, the representative for District Eight, covering Western Massachusetts, is not running for re-election.

Franco has run for the position in the past and was defeated by Merrigan.

Albano has not run for public office since leaving office as Springfield mayor on Jan. 1, 2004.

Reminder Publications contacted both candidates and asked them to supply answers to a list of identical questions. Franco supplied his answers, but Albano's deputy campaign manager, Alex Freedman, replied, "Mayor Albano is on a limited campaign schedule and attending to family business following the passing of his mother.

"However, his positions on the issues raised in your questionnaire can be viewed at and

Thank you for your interest in the campaign for Governor's Council."

The following are Franco's answers:

Considering its low-key presence and its highly specific mission, why would you want to be on the Governor's Council? "I would bring more balance and breadth of knowledge and experience to the Executive Board. I would continue to help bring the process closer to the people, which essentially would strengthen its 'constitutional' standing. I would bring more honesty, integrity and due diligence to the Executive Board of the Governor's Council. The result would be more effective and efficient state government.

Is the role of a member of the Council to be an activist or to be impartial? "Members of the Executive Board must be impartial and unbiased like the nominees they vote 'yes' or 'no' on. Most certainly, in the capacity of their work on the Board.

Do you see the Council developing other duties than the approval of judicial appointments? "The Governor's Council also approves appointments for Notary Public and Justices of the Peace. They must approve the Commonwealth's financial warrants on a weekly basis, without which no money can be paid by the state Treasurer.

"The Executive Board of the Council also holds hearings and approves nominations for the Industrial Accident Board and the Parole Board, which are term appointments. And, if the governor issues pardons or commutations, the Council has authority to approve or deny them.

In a question about his background, Franco said, "I believe I would bring my business education, training and experiences to the board. My military administrative and executive professionalism, and discipline in my work ethic. Also, a maturity from risk-taking in real world (private sector and activist politics), and variety of life experience. I will bring more transparency, honesty and integrity as well."

Franco has served 23 years in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and is a resident of Holyoke, where he is employed as a veteran's agent.