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Sullivan to advocate for judicial resources

Date: 7/24/2012

By G. Michael Dobbs

WESTFIELD — Westfield School Committee Vice Chairman Kevin Sullivan is running for Governor's Council with the goal of advocating for judicial resources in Western Massachusetts.

Sullivan explained to Reminder Publications that he wanted to bring "accountability, ability and competence" to the body that primarily affirms judicial appointments.

He added that he sees the Governor's Council as "the watchdog of the judicial system."

Public service runs in Sullivan's family as his brother Richard is Secretary of Energy and the Environment — as well as the long-time former mayor of Westfield — and his brother Brian has been president of the Westfield City Council six times.

Sullivan is a partner in Fallon, Sullivan & Mulvaney law firm in Springfield and said he knows first hand the challenges local courts face. Since serving on the council is a one-day-a-week commitment, Sullivan will continue his law practice.

A ruling from the State Ethics Commission allows Sullivan to remain on the School Committee if he is elected.

He explained the council must affirm all appointments to the bench from housing court to the Supreme Judicial Court. With the appointment of local judges, Sullivan said it is important to appoint qualified people into those positions as quickly as possible.

Judicial theory is a more important criteria with appointees nominated for the higher courts, he said.

He explained his criteria for judges include knowledge of how to control a courtroom as well as how to move the docket forward. Sullivan said that judges must also understand the "nuances of their communities."

The council also approves the appointments of clerks, which Sullivan said is also important and is involved in some probation and parole matters.

Because the Springfield District Court is so busy, Sullivan said he would advocate for additional resources especially for that court.

A Democrat, Sullivan would be facing former Springfield Mayor Michael Albano and Gerry Roy in a primary on Sept. 6.