BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) - Governor Deval Patrick said goodbye to nearly half his cabinet Thursday. When Patrick won his re-election campaign in 2010, he asked his cabinet for a two-year commitment. Now that those two years are over, some of his closest advisors are parting ways.
"In addition to being wise advisors, Mary-Beth, Paul, Judyann and Jay are also my friends and I am proud of their accomplishments and to have worked with along side them and I will miss them," said Patrick.
Administration and Finance Secretary Jay Gonzalez, Public Safety Secretary Mary Elizabeth Heffernan, Education Secretary Paul Reville and Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby are stepping down as the governor's advisors. Secretary Bigby leaves under the cloud of a state lab scandal and meningitis outbreak that happened under her watch.
"I let him know way before those things happened that I would not be staying for the final two years. I've been here for six years and it's been wonderful," said Bigby.
"She really was in over her head. The changes that are being made today I think were appropriate and we think and we've been arguing that they should have happened a lot sooner," said Rep. Brad Hill (R-Ipswich).
Governor Patrick defended Bigby and praised her role in bringing universal health care to the Commonwealth. He also took ownership over the public health scandals.
"I bear the responsibility," said Patrick. "We hope that when things go wrong they don't result in deaths as has been the case in the, with the meningitis outbreak."
During the summer, Patrick asked his cabinet to re-commit to two years of service – Or depart – so as to avoid piecemeal resignations. Those who decided to depart stood in front of four new secretaries who will be their replacements.
Secretaries that 22 News spoke with said they are leaving the cabinet to seek other opportunities and that pay better. They will stay on in the administration for a couple of more weeks to help with the transition.